Updated 09:11 AM EST, Tue, Jan 19, 2021

Church has No Problem with Medical Marijuana Says Mexico City's Archbishop

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A cardinal in Mexico said that the Catholic Church doesn't oppose using marijuana for medicinal reasons.

Roman Catholic Cardinal Norberto Rivera, who also serves as the archbishop of Mexico City, said on Sunday at a news conference that the church doesn't take issue when it comes to recommending the use of "all elements from nature that can be used to help improve health," Yahoo! News reported from the Associated Press.

Rivera also recalled that when he was a child, marijuana was normally used for health concerns, including pain relief, Yahoo! News added.

In November, the Supreme Court ruled that growing, possessing, and smoking marijuana for recreation is legal under the right to freedom, Fox News Latino wrote. The ruling did not approve selling or commercial production, nor does it entail general legalization of the plant. However, if the court has the same ruling on five similar petitions, it would then eventually give way to changes in the law and permit recreational use.

Senator Cristina Diaz, a member of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, introduced a measure permitting imports and consumption of medical marijuana, which she claimed could help 5,000 Mexicans. Diaz is hopeful that bill will be granted before 2016.

"We are only talking about imports of medicine, not eliminating the ban on making them in the national territory. But it's a first step," Diaz told AFP, as quoted in a report from YourHealth.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto opposed the legalization of cannabis-based medicine despite the country's Supreme Court ruling in favor of four people who wanted to grow the plant for medicinal use. However, he suggested that his government is open to changes in the coming months depending on the results of a national debate of experts.

An opinion survey conducted in October by the Parametria polling firm found that 77 percent of Mexicans do not approve of marijuana legalization, while 20 percent are onboard the idea, Fox News Latino reported.

In the United States, the states of Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington have legalized marijuana consumption, the news outlet added.

Other South American nations, such as Uruguay, Colombia, and Chile, have also legalized and decriminalized a number of drug use in an effort to fight its menacing presence in Latin America, the Washington Post reported.

More than 100,000 people have died in drug-related violence in Mexico since 2007, according to a report from the Guardian. There are some speculations that legalizing marijuana in Mexico and the U.S. could prevent the cartels from selling the drug.

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