The Mexican Senate in curls of marijuana

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The smell of marijuana has tickled the nostrils of Mexican lawmakers for several months, who will be called upon before the end of 2020 to decriminalize this substance.

A group of stubborn activists who advocate the legalization of weed have been installed since February under the windows of the Senate in Mexico City, giving some color to this austere place.

To better convince the occupants of the building, they planted it near one of the entrances. The rain and the heat helping, the shoots reach two meters high.

“We first claim our rights as responsible consumers, before thinking about the interests of the market,” Enrique Espinoza, 30, member of the Mexican Cannabis Movement, told AFP.

About twenty young people watch over the plants while cooking and making hemp-based products, to music.

The rule in force here is not to touch the plants to smoke them. They want to be a symbol of the fight for decriminalization. Everyone therefore brings their own.

No to extortion

In Mexico, the recreational use of marijuana has been permitted since 2015, but not its sale.

In addition, each person is only allowed to have five grams of it on them, which is not always easy to check during a police inspection.

“We have had enough of the extortion of the police who impose fines on us to let us pass,” storms Enrique Espinoza.

Attempts to increase the minimum dose by 5 grams have so far failed in Congress, but justice has set December 15 as the limit to legislate.

In the meantime, the plant has already been removed from the list of “absolutely prohibited drugs”, thus allowing consumption for therapeutic purposes.

Nicolás Guerra, 23, courier, ardently defends the medicinal properties of cannabis. He has been smoking it for four years to overcome a neurosis.

“Marijuana and martial arts have helped me decrease my neurosis. It is my medicine and that is why I am in favor of its legalization, ”he says.

Since the installation of the plantation, a dozen senators have already presented themselves to address the activists.

“We told them not to behave like sheep,” says Enrique Espinoza.

A cure for violence?

For the fifty or so organizations that campaign for the free consumption of cannabis in Mexico, the law to be adopted will have to authorize the “simple and sufficient possession” of weed, that the users are not listed, that the consumption is free in spaces. adequate and that the exploitation of the whole plant is accessible.

If passed, Mexico will follow in the wake of Uruguay, which in 2013 passed a law authorizing the pharmacy sale of marijuana from private plantations under state control, in addition to domestic and cooperative crops.

The Uruguayan authorities wanted to cut corners on the trafficker market, a goal that has been achieved since the consumption of illegally manufactured marijuana was divided by five between 2014 and 2018, according to official figures.

Mexico, where marijuana is the most commonly seized drug at 185 tonnes this year, suffers from trafficking-related violence spurred by its proximity to the United States, the main drug user.

Since 2006, when the Mexican government militarized the fight against the cartels, 296,000 murders have been recorded.

Leftist President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who attributes most of the killings to organized crime, has repeatedly declared his intention to legalize certain drugs as part of his security policy.

While waiting for Mexican lawmakers to speak out, Céleste, 27, a delivery worker by profession, believes that the cannabis “garden” at the foot of the Senate is a “bastion” of freedom.

“Why should we hide? She said, her face shrouded in billowing smoke.

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