Could Mexico's New Congress Really Legalize Marijuana?

Just days after the Mexican Supreme Court ruled that a ban on marijuana was unconstitutional, the country's Congress is poised to take up a bill that allows both medicinal use and recreational, and that could have a huge impact on Texas, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

Mexican Sen. Olga Sanchez, who is President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's choice for interior minister, writes in the 26-page bill posted online that the country's marijuana prohibition led to a war on cartels, where 235,000 people have been killed.

"The objective can’t be to eradicate the consumption of a substance that’s as prevalent as cannabis is," she wrote.

If approved, the recreational use of marijuana would be a huge blow to the transnational criminal organizations, which have been supplying weed to America.  

At Rice University, Prof. Tony Payan says they will likely pivot to smuggling more hard drugs - opioids, heroin and cocaine - to border states like Texas.

"They will also diversity into kidnapping, extortion and other illegal business because they will lose billions of dollars in profits," he says.

And the worry is that will increase crime along smuggling routes through Texas, including San Antonio, which sits along both I-35 and I-10. 

President-elect Lopez Obrador, who takes office this December, previously promised to end Mexico’s war on drugs, but there are also concerns that his administration has not thought through the long range ripple effects of a global marijuana market.  

While the drug is still illegal in Texas, it's allowed in California, where new Gov. Elect  Gavin Newsom is a vocal supporter.  Canada allows its use, too.

Payan says there needs to be a conversation about international trade.

"Is marijuana going to be covered by NAFTA," he asks.  "Is it something that Mexico can export to the US?"

In this week's midterm election, Michigan voters approved a ballot measure making their state the first in the Midwest to legalize cannabis.  Missouri voters also approved an initiative to allow medical marijuana, as did Utah.

And in Texas, Congressman Pete Sessions lost his bid for reelection.  The chairman of the House Rules Committee has systematically blocked every single proposed marijuana amendment from reaching a floor vote this Congress.

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