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A man lights up a joint during a rally to collect signatures for marijuana legalisation outside the Senate building in Mexico CityReuters

Mexican officials have proposed legalising medical marijuana in order to combat cartels and drug-related violence that has claimed tens of thousands of lives.

The drug liberalisation initiative was presented by left-wing Mexican senators as domestic pressure grows on the government to deal with the drug violence that has plagued the country since former President Felipe Calderon targeted cartels in 2007.

In 2009, Mexico made it legal to carry five grams of marijuana, and this fresh proposal would raise the legal amount of possession to 30g.

It would also legalise the use of medical marijuana, give greater influence to the Mexico City government in drug policy and raise possession limits on LSD, methamphetamine and cocaine.

Vidal Llerenas, who sits on the Mexico City Legislative Assembly, stated in a news conference that Mexico was "making a very important contribution to a global debate that has to do with rethinking the issue of drugs".

The proposal was put forward by members of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), the third largest party in the Mexican Congress.

Congressman Fernando Belaunzaran believes the time is right for Mexico to look at other options in the war on drug-related crime.

"Seventy thousand dead, 26,000 disappeared and an incalculable number of internally displaced are more than sufficient reason to look for an alternative model," he said.

Approximately 60 percent of Mexico's prison population have been charged with drug crimes, says Aljeandro Madrazo Lajous, a law professor at Mexico City's CIDE Law School.

Within this group, 38 percent were convicted of drug possession without intent to sell.

"Over half of them are for [the possession of] Marijuana only," Lajous told the Atlantic.

If signed, the legislation will reform the Central American country's drug possession laws but President Enrique Peña Nieto and the conservative opposition National Action Party (PAN) have so far resisted any move to decriminialise marijuana.

However, Nieto is said to be watching developments in the war on drugs around the world, especially in Latin America, where Uruguay became the first country to legalise marijuana in January, and the US states of Colorado and Washington, where legalisation initiatives are ongoing.