From the Americas to Europe to North Africa and beyond, the marijuana legalization movement is gaining unprecedented traction - a nod to efforts in Colorado, Washington state and Uruguay, which in December became the first country to approve nationwide pot legalization.

In Mexico City lawmakers have proposed a brand new plan to let stores sell the drug.

In October, lawmakers from Uruguay, Mexico and Canada converged on Colorado for a firsthand look at how that state's law is being implemented. They toured a medical marijuana dispensary and sniffed bar-coded marijuana plants as the dispensary's owner gave them a tour.

"Mexico has outlets like that, but guarded by armed men," Mexican Congressman René Fujiwara Montelongo said afterward.

There's no general push to legalize marijuana in Mexico, where tens of thousands have died in cartel violence in recent years. But in liberal Mexico City, legislators on Thursday introduced a measure to let stores sell up to 5 grams of pot. It's supported by the mayor but could set up a fight with the conservative federal government.

"Rather than continue fighting a war that makes no sense, now we are joining a cutting-edge process," said Jorge Castaneda, a former Mexican foreign minister.

In Latin America and the Caribbean there is still significant public opposition to further legalization. But top officials are realizing that it is nevertheless on the table.

Current or former presidents in Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala and Brazil have called for a re-evaluation of or end to the drug war, a chorus echoed by Argentina's drug czar, Juan Carlos Molina, a Roman Catholic priest who has long served in the nation's drug-wasted slums.

-Reporting by the Associated Press