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Mexico's minister for tourism revealed Thursday he believes marijuana should be legalized in cities popular with travelers like Cancun and Los Cabos with the intent of reducing criminal violence.
According to Reuters.com, tourism minister Enrique de la Madrid wants to follow the example of areas in the United States and legalize marijuana in Quintana Roo and Baja California Sur. Those regions have been hit hard by drug and gang violence, and legalizing marijuana could help take power away from the criminals.
"It's absurd that we're not taking this step as a country," Madrid told the Mexican media at a press conference. "Even if there's work to do on the whole of the country, I'd like to see that it might be done in Baja California and Quintana Roo."
When asked if he believed the legalization of marijuana in popular tourist destinations would boost visitor numbers as it has in countries like the Netherlands, Madrid defended his position to Reportur.mx.
"They either bring it or buy it, so they do not come for that," Madrid said. "What is not justified is that a consumer goes to jail because he uses marijuana, what is not justified is that he is a victim of extortion because he uses marijuana, it is absurd."
It is important to note that Madrid later clarified his comments as being solely his, via his Twitter account:
"I want to emphasize that my opinion on the legalization of marijuana is purely a personal one, based on the analysis and study of the subject for many years. I'm convinced we must discuss it as part of the solution to violence and insecurity in Mexico."
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto proposed a bill in 2016 to allow Mexicans to carry up to an ounce of marijuana, but the law was never passed by Congress. Many government officials have questioned why drug laws have caused violence in Mexico, yet marijuana is legal when you cross the border into California.
In a positive step forward, Mexico legalized marijuana for medical and scientific use in June.
Donald Wood is TravelPulse’s senior writer in the breaking news department, bringing nearly 15 years of experience to the desk....
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