Mexico City - Following a national debate on narcotics policy, the Mexican senate passed a bill on Tuesday approving the use of marijuana for medical purposes.
Senators voted 98-7 for the legislation, moving Mexico closer to joining several US states and other nations in Latin America in allowing cannabis for medical uses.
In a major policy shift, President Enrique Peņa Nieto proposed legalizing medical marijuana in April after his government organized forums to discuss changes to the laws.
Below expectations of society
The bill fails to meet demands from lawmakers and civil groups, however, who argue that wider legalization can help the country which is mired in brutal drug violence.
Nieto opposes a broader legalization of marijuana but has previously proposed increasing the amount of the drug that can legally be possessed for personal consumption from 28 grams (one ounce) from five grams.
Senator Miguel Barbosa, of the leftist Democratic Revolution Party (PRD), lamented on Tuesday that the legislation was "well below the expectations of society" regarding reforms of marijuana laws.
Advocates of the bill, however, said Tuesday's vote was a major step that will address Mexicans' need of an alternative medical treatment.
The bill will now move to the lower Chamber of Deputies for consideration.Read the full article at dw.com.