By Agence French-Presse
Mexico’s Senate voted overwhelmingly in favor of legalizing medical marijuana on Tuesday after a national debate on narcotics policy in a country mired in brutal drug violence.
In a major policy shift, President Enrique Pena Nieto proposed legalizing medical marijuana in April after his government organized forums to discuss changes to the laws.
Senators voted 98-7 for the legislation, moving Mexico closer to joining several US states and other nations in Latin America in allowing cannabis for medical uses.
The bill — which now moves to the chamber of deputies — falls short of demands among some lawmakers and civil groups who argue that a wider legalization of marijuana use can help the country reduce drug-related violence.
But proponents said it is a major step that will address Mexicans’ need of an alternative medical treatment.
The bill authorizes the health ministry to design regulations for the use, import and production of pharmaceutical products made from cannabis or marijuana, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the plant’s main psychoactive ingredient.