MEXICO CITY, MEXICO — Two bills were introduced in Mexico City on Thursday that would reform drug policies in North America’s largest city and on a national level.
The first bill seeks to decriminalize the possession of marijuana for personal use, removes incarceration as the first response for the possession of other illicit substances, and creates a limited mechanism for the sale of marijuana if certain requirements are met.
Possession of less than 5 grams of marijuana would not lead to any form of prosecution or jail time. Additionally, the bill establishes threshold quantities for cocaine, heroin and other illicit substances, under which people who use drugs can be referred to a “Dissuasion Committee” – based on principles of collaboration and human rights – that offers information and support to minimize the risks and harms of drug use.
The bill also creates a mechanism for establishing spaces for the safe production and distribution of marijuana, aimed at removing people who use marijuana from the violence of the illicit market.
These spaces are not permitted to sell other substances, including alcohol and tobacco; cannot sell adulterated marijuana; cannot sell to minors or be near schools; and must grant access to government health officials to educate consumers about the effects of cannabis, harm reduction, prevention and treatment.
If these and other criteria are met, the government’s Institute for the Attention and Prevention of Addictions will permit them to supply marijuana.
The second bill allows for the medical use of marijuana by removing penalties for prescribing marijuana and rescheduling marijuana from List 1 to List 3, reserved for substances with potential therapeutic value but that also present health risks. Furthermore, the bill aims to decentralize drug control policy and allow states the power to regulate the production, distribution and sale of marijuana.
“On the heels of historic marijuana legalization victories in Washington, Colorado and Uruguay, it’s promising to see other countries and jurisdictions following suit,” said Hanna Hetzer of the Drug Policy Alliance. “The innovative nature of the marijuana bill — which combines elements of marijuana regulation models from around the world — demonstrates that reforms can be tailored to fit the local context.”
“Mexico has suffered immensely from the war on drugs,” Hetzer continued. “Amidst extreme levels of violence and crime, it is encouraging to see Mexico’s capital city attempt to refocus its efforts away from marijuana possession and low-level drug offenses and to invest in reducing violent crime instead. Marijuana decriminalization has taken place in over fifteen US states and various countries throughout the world — and, where implemented effectively, it has had overwhelmingly positive effects by lowering arrests without increasing consumption or crime.”