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legalization | 11.26.2019

Mexico Announces Plans To Legalize Medical Marijuana

President Enrique Pena Nieto is open to the legalization of medical marijuana, and says his government will announce new measures in the near future.

Mexico might be on the path to legalization. President Enrique Pena Nieto said he is open to the legalization of medical marijuana, and that his government would announce new measures in the near future.

A change in focus

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“I am giving voice to those who have (in public forums) expressed the necessity of changing the regulatory framework to authorize the use of marijuana for medical and scientific purposes”.

With the violence and corruption that illegal drug trafficking have caused in Mexico over the years, citizens have been pushing for a change. Last year, a game-changing Supreme Court decision paved the way for a liberalization of Mexican marijuana laws, finding (at least for the plaintiffs involved), that cannabis was a human right. Pena Nieto says:

“We should be flexible to change that which has not yielded results, the paradigm based essentially in prohibitionism, the so-called ‘War on Drugs’ … (which) has not been able to limit production, trafficking nor the global consumption of drugs”.

Widening support

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A senator from Pena Nieto’s ruling Institutional Revolutionary Part stated that a bill permitting the use of medical marijuana should be approved by May.

Pena Nieto’s speech, given at the UN General assembly where Canada also announced its plans to legalize cannabis, came as a surprise to many as Pena Nieto has been an outspoken opponent of legalization. Now he states that drug use should be viewed through the lens of public health rather than Prohibitionist criminal sanctions. At the UN General Assembly, the global consensus recognized that the solution to the world drug problem lies in a more humane, public-health oriented, human rights compliant; evidence-based approach that addresses this issue in all its complexity.

Consensus of nations

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Emphasizing the need for policies that ‘put people first’, Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Yury Fedotov stated:

“This [special session on the world drug problem] UNGASS has provided a critical opportunity, at a critical moment, to build a more comprehensive and collective understanding of the challenges we face”. – Fedotov

The UN General Assembly Special Session on Drugs (UNGASS) was due to be held in 2019 – the target date set out in the 2009 Political Declaration and Action Plan. In September of 2012, the presidents of Mexico, Colombia, and Guatemala called on the UN to host a special international conference on drug policy reform ahead of that date. A provision was included in the annual omnibus to bring the summit forward to 2016, sponsored by Mexico and co-sponsored by 95 other countries.

While more countries than ever are seeing the error of continued criminalization, the plans adopted at the special session maintain the prohibitionist stance of criminal sanctions.

“So far, the solutions [to control drugs and crime] implemented by the international community have been frankly insufficient”. – Pena Nieto

Do you think that the approach to drugs across the globe needs to change? Can we truly expect to arrest our way our of a human trait that has existed for thousands of years? Share your opinion on social media or in the comments section below.

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