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Party of Mexico's president-elect wants to legalize marijuana

Party of Mexico's president-elect wants to legalize marijuana
Activists march along Reforma Avenue in Mexico City on May 6, 2017, demanding the legalization of marijuana. (Yuri Cortez / AFP/Getty Images)

The party of Mexico's president-elect submitted legislation Thursday that would legalize marijuana possession, public use, growing and sales.

Sen. Olga Sanchez Cordero presented the measure, saying that everyone should have “the right to carry up to 30 grams [1 ounce] of cannabis." People could carry more than an ounce if they obtained a permit to do so under the proposal.

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"From the point of view of negative effects, there is no reason why marijuana should not be legal, if alcohol and tobacco are," according to the bill.

Cordero has been picked as interior secretary by President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who takes office Dec. 1. She is currently a senator for Lopez Obrador's leftist Morena party.

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Her bill also would allow every Mexican to grow as many as 20 marijuana plants on private property and produce up to 17 ounces a year. Public smoking of marijuana would be allowed, "except in tobacco-smoke-free spaces."

Sales of marijuana would be regulated by a special agency, which would oversee purity, packaging and quality. Sales of edible marijuana products would be prohibited, as would advertising or promoting marijuana. Providing pot to minors would be illegal, and driving while under the influence of marijuana would be subject to prosecution.

The bill would need the approval of both houses of Congress, where Morena and its allies hold majorities in the two chambers.

In 2016, the government began granting permits for some patients to import medicinal marijuana products. It has also decriminalized the possession small amounts of marijuana (about 5 grams) and issued several permits for people to cultivate and possess pot for personal use.

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Uruguay was the first country to legalize marijuana for personal use. This year, Canada became the second and largest country with a legal national marijuana marketplace.

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