Mexico should move ahead with completely legalizaing Marijuana, according to Jesus Zambrano, the president of the country’s Chamber of Deputies. On Sunday the legislative body began a month-long discussion on the drug war.
“The topic has its international component and efforts need to be combined, particularly between the United States and Mexico, to have common rules, laws that are essentially identical, though each with its own modalities, because we are distinct, but the United States must help our country apply, for instance, legalization of marijuana for medical and recreational use,” said Zambrano.
He added that Mexico will not wait for the United States and will instead follow the example of Colombia and Italy in pursuing policies to undercut organized crime.
Mexico has been ravaged by violence in the last decade, with more than 164,000 homicides between 2007 and 2014 alone, coiniciding with an increasingly militarized war on drugs.
Zambrano also touched on the use of border controls to limit the traffic of arms, which has equipped narcotraffickers with more weapons than the national army. Inequality and poverty, he said, are also central to any policy addressing gang violence.
Last year, Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled that a couple had a right under the constitution to cultivate marijuana, though that ruling did not legalize cultivation for others.
Mexican lawmakers will be discussing whether or not to extend that ruling themselves until Feb. 17.