Mexico easing up on marijuana laws

Mexican law already allows for possession of up to 5 grams of marijuana.

Story highlights

  • Mexico will be taking steps to legalize medicinal marijuana
  • It will consider decriminalizing possession of small quantities or cannabis for personal use
  • Defense attorney says police already often look the other way in cases involving small amounts of marijuana

(CNN)Mexico will be taking legislative steps to legalize the use of medicinal marijuana, and its government will consider penal code changes to decriminalize possession of small quantities or cannabis for personal use.

The announcement came from President Enrique Peña Nieto, who spoke at the U.N. Drug Policy Summit in New York on Tuesday.
    Peña Nieto said his government has held forums to get input from Mexican opinion leaders on ways to more effectively control the flow of illegal drugs while at the same time exploring alternatives other than the strict law enforcement regulation.
    "As president of Mexico, in this special session, I give voice to those [Mexican opinion leaders] who expressed the need to update, within the confines of the law, the use of marijuana for medical and scientific purposes," Peña Nieto said.
    The President called drug consumption "a public health problem." His proposals, he said, derive from the forums his government has held.
    "The participants in the forums also spoke about the importance of increasing, in accordance with international standards, the amount of marijuana that can be considered for personal use with the goal of decriminalizing consumers," Peña Nieto said.

    Defense attorney: 'This is nothing new'