Oct. 15, 2013
Though deprived of sunlight and breathing the smog-ridden air of Mexico’s mountain capital, the marijuana plants, from a strain known as purple kush, reach 0.9 m in a brick home at a middle-class suburb. They are alimented with electric lights and kept behind closed curtains by the owner, who says he grows them to smoke himself. If police found them, he could be nailed for drug production and face a hefty prison sentence under laws designed to tackle the country’s ultraviolent cartels.
But that situation could change with a series of bills that Mexico City legislators plan to file at the end of this month to legalize and regulate marijuana consumption. Proposals include the setting up of cannabis clubs to grow herb for their members and tolerance of anyone carrying up to 30 g, or just over an ounce, of marijuana. Leftist lawmakers say the measures would free up police to focus on serious crime and take a step toward ending the country’s catastrophic drug war, which has claimed more than 60,000 lives in the past six years. “The war against drugs is a failure. We are not going to win it,” says assemblyman Vidal Llerenas, who is working on the legislation. “We cannot hope for a drug-free world. But we can hope to limit the damage and take the profits away from organized crime.”