Mexico City mulls legal dagga 'clubs'
05 September 2013, 11:44
Mexico City - The Mexico City council is considering the legalisation of cannabis plants and the creation of private dagga smoking "clubs" as it mulls controversial legislation to liberalise consumption, lawmakers said on Wednesday.
The capital hosted a three-day forum on drug policy amid a growing debate in Latin America over the course of the region's deadly struggle against narco-trafficking, with President Enrique Pena Nieto taking a stance against legalisation.
Esthela Damian, a councillor of the city's ruling Democratic Revolution Party (PRD), said the proposals on the table include allowing the cultivation of three cannabis plants per person, as well as a system of co-operatives or "non-profit private clubs".
The forum of experts and representatives from around the world, including the UN and Organisation of American States (OAS), gave way to various opinions that could feed legislation the city council may debate in October.
The US states of Washington and Colorado voted to legalise the recreational use of dagga in 2012, a move that shocked the Mexican government as it faces cartel violence that has left more than 70 000 people dead in the past seven years.
Former president Vicente Fox, who was in office from 2000 to 2006, has come out in favour of legalising dagga as a solution to the violence.
Pena Nieto has vowed to tweak the security policy of his predecessor, Felipe Calderon, but he has kept troops on the ground to combat drug trafficking and detains kingpins while voicing opposition to drug legalisation
Mexico City, home to almost nine million people plus 11 million more in its suburbs, has stood out from the rest of the country in recent years by legalising abortion and allowing gay marriage.
The PRD of Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera holds the majority in the city council but Damian said the legislature's powers to regulate drugs are limited.
Mexico currently allows the possession of a maximum of 5g of dagga for personal consumption, but growing and selling weed is illegal.
Damian said, however, that the club concept is feasible, with a registry of members, production and consumption.
Vidal Llerenas, one of the councillors drafting the dagga bill, said he likes the new law in Washington state, which allows people over 21 to possess and use up to 28g of dagga.
He also praised legislation making progress in Uruguay that would make it the first nation to produce and distribute pot.
"But the most realistic would be something like in the Netherlands where consumption and possession are not penalised," he said.