MEXICO: Mexico and the United States cannot pursue diverging policies on marijuana legalization, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto was quoted as saying on Sunday, hinting he may be open to following the lead taken by some U.S. states in changing drug laws.
Political pressure has grown in Mexico to take a more liberal stance on marijuana since Washington and Colorado decided to legalize possession and sale of the drug for recreational use in 2012. Other U.S. states plan votes soon.
Marijuana, along with contraband like cocaine and crystal meth, has been a major source of income for violent drug cartels responsible for thousands of deaths in Mexico in recent years.
Proponents of reform say legalizing marijuana would both reduce the gangs’ economic power and help generate more tax revenue.
Pena Nieto says he is in favor of debating the issue despite personal misgivings about legalizing cannabis, and lawmakers say Mexico cannot be out of step for ever with the United States, the principal buyer of illicit drugs that cross the border.