Mexican senate readies to vote on pot legalization bill

Marijuana leaves are seen next to Mexico's Senate building at the protest cannabis garden of the Cannabico Mexican Movement in Mexico City, Mexico November 19, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican senators on Thursday kicked off discussion of a sweeping initiative to legalize marijuana, ahead of a Senate vote that could push the bill a step closer to approval in its next phase in the lower house.

Lawmakers backing the bill have been rushing to secure approval before mid-December, when the congressional session ends. If the proposal passes, it would create the world’s largest weed market in a country battered by a violent war against drug gangs.

In addition to legalizing recreational use, marijuana would also be allowed for scientific, medical and industrial purposes under the proposed law.

Reporting by Diego Ore, Writing by Daina Beth Solomon