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Mexico looks to legalize marijuana in landmark bill

Lawmakers in Mexico's lower house passed a bill Wednesday to legalize recreational marijuana.

Why it matters: The action sets it up for approval in the Senate before it's sent to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who has signaled support for the measure.

  • If signed into law, the provision would add Mexico to a growing list of countries in the Americas that have legalized marijuana. It could also make Mexico the world’s largest cannabis market, the New York Times reports.

Details: The bill would allow adults to smoke marijuana and grow cannabis plants at home with a permit.

  • It would also grant licenses for people to cultivate and sell cannabis.

What they're saying: "Today we are in a historic moment," Simey Olvera, a lawmaker with the governing party, said according to NYT. "With this, the false belief that cannabis is part of Mexico’s serious public health problems is left behind."

The big picture: The move comes more than two years after the country's Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to ban recreational marijuana. The bill, however, has proven divisive.

  • Opponents fear that legalization could fuel the drug war and rates of cartel-driven violence in Mexico.
  • Mexico's actions could add fuel to the movement to legalize marijuana in the U.S. on the federal level. In recent years, more and more states have taken steps toward legalization.

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