MEXICO CITY, Jan. 5 (UPI) -- Some Mexican officials say the country should legalize marijuana, arguing it would take a big chunk of business away from drug cartels.
President Enrique Pena Nieta has hinted he might accept a change in the law, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday. Pena, in an interview with CNN, said referendums that legalized recreational pot smoking in Colorado and Washington state "could bring us to rethinking the strategy."
Fernando Belaunzaran, a member of Congress representing the left-wing Democratic Revolution Party, has introduced a bill to legalize marijuana.
He says without marijuana income, believed to be between one-fifth and one-quarter of their total, cartels would be not be able to buy as much deadly weaponry.
"It's a matter of life or death," Belaunzaran said at a news conference. "And after 60,000 deceased no one can say that it isn't essential to Mexicans' lives."
Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera has called for a discussion of legalization. In Colima state, Gov. Mario Anguiano has suggested a vote.
Marijuana has been illegal in Mexico since 1920, longer than it has in the United States. Polls show a majority of Mexicans want marijuana to stay illegal, while 50 percent in the United States support legalization.