FILE PHOTO: A man shreds marijuana during a 4/20 party to demand legalization and to celebrate marijuana culture outside the Senate building in Mexico City, Mexico, April 20, 2017. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez/File photo
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s next interior minister plans to submit a bill to legalize recreational and medical marijuana use, according to documents posted on the Congress website on Tuesday, the latest step by the incoming government to shake up the country’s fight against drug-related crime.
The bill, which is backed by Senator Olga Sanchez, Mexico President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s choice for interior minister, could be presented this week, two legislative sources said. But it could still face resistance within the coalition led by the president-elect’s National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) party.
If the bill passes, Mexico would join Canada, Uruguay and a host of U.S. states that have legalized the drug.
In the 26-page bill posted on the Congress website, Sanchez wrote that Mexico’s ban on recreational cannabis has contributed to crime and violence.
“The objective can’t be to eradicate the consumption of a substance that’s as prevalent as cannabis is,” Sanchez wrote.
MORENA’s coalition has a majority in both houses, but the alliance includes a conservative party that has in the past opposed some socially progressive policies.
Reporting by Veronica Gomez, Miguel Angel Gutierrez, Diego Ore and Daina Beth Solomon; Writing by Julia Love; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel and Bill Berkrot