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El Paso DEA responds to possible marijuana legalization in Mexico

The party of Mexico’s president submitted legislation on Nov. 8 that would legalize marijuana possession, public use, growing and sales.

Sen. Olga Sanchez Cordero presented the measure, saying that everyone should have “the right to carry up to 30 grams (one ounce) of cannabis.” People could carry more than an ounce if they requested a permit to do so under the proposal.

On Dec. 14, there Mexican Senate tweeted a message that state it was taking steps to approach other countries that have legalized the status of marijuana to learn from them.

Kyle Williamson, Special Agent In Charge for the El Paso Drug Enforcement Administration said he doesn’t’t agree with the legalization of marijuana.

With the Borderland community intertwined with Juarez Williamson expressed particular concern for youth in the community.

“It’s not a safe drug it’s a dangerous drug,” he said. “One in six kids who use marijuana will become addicted. Regardless of legalization it’s still illegal under federal law.”

Two-thirds of U.S. states legalized marijuana in some capacity, be it for recreational or medicinal purposes.

“We have over five decades of research that shows there’s no medical for smoked marijuana.” said Williamson.

The proposed legislation Cordero put forth mentions other substances.

“From the point of view of negative effects, there is no reason why marijuana should not be legal, if alcohol and tobacco are,” according to the bill.

Speaking at the Mexican Senate in Spanish on Nov. 8, Cordero said that legalizing marijuana isn’t just about personal liberty, it’s also about freeing people from the grip and threats of organized crime.

Williamson said a more dangerous substance is menacing our Borderland community.

“Our biggest threat right here in the region ,right now, is from methamphetamine,” he said. “A lot of it’s being pushed through our border here.”

Much of the meth is pushed by cartels, Williamson said. Out of the 12 the DEA recognizes, three are an immediate threat in our region.

“The Juarez Cartel, La Linea, the Jalisco Nuevo Generación, the Sinaloa Cartel,” he said. “When you think about it, right now the United States, as a whole, we have 200 people dying a day from overdose deaths. “

Cordero has been picked as interior secretary by Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who took office Dec. 1. She is currently a senator for Lopez Obrador’s leftist Morena party.

Her bill also would allow every Mexican to grow up to 20 marijuana plants on private property and produce up to 17 ounces (480 grams) a year. Public smoking of marijuana would be allowed, “except in tobacco smoke-free spaces.”

Sales of marijuana would be regulated by a special agency, which would oversee purity, packaging and quality. Sales of edible marijuana products would be prohibited, as would advertising or promoting marijuana.

Providing pot to minors would be illegal, and driving while under the influence of marijuana would be subject to prosecution.

The bill would have to be approved by both houses of congress, where Morena and its allies hold majorities in both chambers.

In 2016, Mexico’s government began granting permits for some patients to import medicinal marijuana products. It has also decriminalized the possession small amounts of marijuana (about 5 grams) and issued several permits for people to cultivate and possess pot for personal use.

Uruguay was the first country to legalize marijuana for personal use. This year, Canada became the second and largest country with a legal national marijuana marketplace.

The AP contributed to this article.

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