The success of legalization initiatives in Colorado and Washington in November has sparked a new conversation in Mexico, one of the world’s top marijuana growers, reports the Los Angeles Times. Mexico’s new president, Enrique Peña Nieto, opposes legalization, but he told CNN that the news from Washington and Colorado “could bring us to rethinking the strategy.” The governor of Colima state, Mario Anguiano, floated the idea of a legalization referendum for his small coastal state.
In the Mexican Congress, Fernando Belaunzaran, a lawmaker with the left-wing Democratic Revolution Party, has introduced a national legalization bill. The cartels probably derive 20% to 25% of their drug export revenue from marijuana, and Belaunzaran contends that legalization will eat into profit that allows the cartels to buy the advanced weapons that are the cause of much bloodshed. “It’s a matter of life or death,” Belaunzaran said. “And after 60,000 deceased” — an estimate of the death toll in the six-year war against the cartels — “no one can say that it isn’t essential to Mexicans’ lives.”