Oct. 24 (UPI) -- Mexico may legalize marijuana in a bid to reduce crime, the country's newly appointed foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, said in Canada.
"We think it is a very interesting option in the short term for Mexico," Ebrard said during a recent visit to Montreal, Canada, El Pais reported Wednesday. He met with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and discussed topics that included Canada's recent roll out of legalized recreational cannabis in Trudeau's nation.
It makes no sense "to have a law banning cannabis possession or consumption," Ebrard said. As many as 9,000 people are jailed in Mexico after they were detained with drugs.
The country spends considerable resources to fight drug trafficking, Ebrard said, and "much suffering is caused to the population."
The legal initiative is already being written and is expected to become public by the end of the year, El Pais reported.
"The bill will detail an eventual regulation to reflect the legal framework and historic ruling three years ago by the Supreme Court of Justice that allowed four people rights to grow and consume" marijuana, El Pais said
In mid-October, Canada became the second nation to legalize recreational marijuana after Uruguay.
There were 21,857 homicides in Mexico between January and August, a record and also a 20 percent on-year increase. More than 238,000 people have been killed in Mexico since the end of 2006, when then-President Felipe Calderon ordered the army to fight a "war" against drug trafficking, Proceso reported in late September.
Ebrard was appointed by elected President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, whose term will begin Dec. 1 and end in October 2024.
The National Regeneration Movement led by Lopez Obrador will have control of the Mexican legislature and voting could take place anytime after February 2019, El Pais said.