This is a remarkable step, considering Nieto's reported personal opposition to the legalization of marijuana. He, however, justified his decision by saying the initiative seeks to "view drugs from a perspective of prevention, health and human rights."
The president's proposition has been sent to the Senate, where it was met with general praise by Senate head Roberto Gil Zuarth. Welcoming the initiative, Gil Zuarth suggested that the proposal be pursued in a step-by-step basis, claiming that the changes in marijuana legislation won't immediately end black markets or addiction-caused crime.
Senator Agustín Basave Benítez, of the Democratic Revolution Party, reportedly shared the sentiment: "Let's hit [crime syndicates] where it hurts, and we'll let informed adults decide and addicts be treated, because it's a health problem," he said.
This measure is viewed as a larger plan by Nieto to shift drug policy "from mere prohibition to effective prevention and regulation." The popular initiative will require approval by the Congress of the Union, Mexico's highest legislative body.
Meanwhile, Canada's health minister Jane Philpott announced on Wednesday that the country's government will introduce legislation next year legalizing the sale of marijuana, according to the BBC.