Article by Aox News
Mexican lawmakers gave final and overwhelming approval Friday to a bill legalizing medical marijuana after a national debate on narcotics policy in a country mired in brutal drug violence.
The legislation also allows use of marijuana for scientific research, as well as production and distribution of pot for those two stated purposes.
The vote in the Chamber of Deputies was 371 in favor and seven against with 11 abstentions.
The bill will now go to President Enrique Pena Nieto for his signature and then publication in the official government gazette, the lower house said in a statement.
The Senate approved the bill by a wide margin in December.
With Friday’s vote, Mexico will join several US states and other nations in Latin America that allow cannabis for medical uses.
Pena Nieto proposed legalizing medical marijuana in a major policy shift in April after his government organized forums to discuss changes to the laws.
The bill fell short of demands from some lawmakers and civil groups that argue that a wider legalization of marijuana use could help the country reduce drug-related violence.
But proponents said it was a major step that will address Mexicans’ need of an alternative medical treatment.