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Top Official Hints Mexico Could Legalize Medical Marijuana

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A growing number of developments point to the increasing possibility that Mexico could soon pass legislation allowing the medical use of marijuana.

“There seems to be a majority opinion, even at international level, about its therapeutic benefits,” Miguel Angel Osorio Chong, the country’s secretary of the interior, said on Tuesday.

The high-ranking cabinet member made the remarks at the first of five government-hosted regional forums on marijuana issues.

President Enrique Peña Nieto is personally opposed to full legalization but has said he is open to debate on the topic.

The new comments from Osorio Chong could be an indication that the government sees legalizing medical cannabis as an acceptable middle ground between current policy and ending prohibition completely.

Leaders in both chambers of Mexico’s Congress have signaled that they are open to enacting marijuana law reforms this year.

Earlier this month, the mayor of the nation’s capital announced his support for legalization, saying it would deal a financial blow to drug cartels. “My position is always the defense of freedoms,” said Miguel Angel Mancera, who is considered to be a likely candidate in the country’s upcoming 2018 presidential election.

In November, Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled that individuals have a right to grow and distribute marijuana for personal use. While that case only currently applies to the four individuals who brought it, the right to cultivate and consume cannabis would become binding nationwide if the court ruled similarly a handful of additional times.

Mexico’s Congress is currently holding a series of 12 hearings on marijuana policy that are expected to dig in to issues such as prison overcrowding, consumer health, public safety, human rights, medical uses of cannabis and ways to regulate production.

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