A group of left-wing Mexican lawmakers from the Party of the Democratic Revolution (hereinafter “PRD”) introduced a bill recently to legalize marijuana in an effort to curb the well known and documented cartel violence that exists in the country. Since Mexican President Felipe Calderon launched a crackdown on drug cartels in 2008, Mexico has faced a wave of violence that has resulted in an estimated 70,000 deaths and 26,000 disappearances. PRD members plan on introducing a similar bill in the Mexican House soon. However, it is unclear whether the bill will ultimately be approved given that PRD is only the third largest party in Mexico’s congress.
Marijuana legalization has been controversial in the United States and abroad. Indeed, many commentators predict that 2014 will be a groundbreaking year for marijuana policy. Recently, the United States Financial Crimes Enforcement Network issued guidelines for banks to provide services to legal marijuana related businesses. Moreover, just last week Italy’s constitutional court struck down a harsh marijuana sentencing law. Furthermore, Michigan’s Supreme Court ruled that cities may not pass ordinances that conflict with the state’s medical marijuana laws. Just this past year, Florida’s Supreme Court approved a citizen initiative to vote on the legality of medical marijuana. Additionally, Uruguay President Jose Mujica signed a bill making the country the first to legalize the sale and production of marijuana.
In sum, no matter what one’s views on the legalization of Marijuana, it is now safe to say that the marijuana legalization is an impending juggernaut to existing laws and those that oppose it. Medical marijuana, while in it of itself, still does not give an imprimatur to use the drug recreationally, it is, in any event, a step in that direction. For it was not too long ago where marijuana – with respect to medical use – was still a banned substance throughout the entire country.
The “marijuana movement,” if you will, raises some interesting questions. Do you think it is only a matter of time before most of the States join the movement and allow the legal use of marijuana for medical purposes? Is this a decision better left to the States or the Federal government; is this a decision that the federal government can even have a say on based on principles of federalism?
What about the recreational use of marijuana? Is it only a matter a time until the States and the rest of the world follow in Colorado’s footsteps with respect to the legalization of recreational use, or is this just some folly by the people of Colorado?
Source: Mexico’s Law Library of Congress
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