Enrique Pena Nieto, Mexican President, strongly opposed the legalization of marijuana on Wednesday. At the same time, the Mexican government called for a nationwide debate on the topic. He even stated that based on the debates on the topic that have been going on, there has been confusion everywhere, including his own household.
Mexico’s Supreme Court decided in November that cultivating, having and smoking cannabis for recreational use is legal because of the right to freedom, however, that ruling did not apply to the entire country, but just to four people involved in a specific case. According to Pena Nieto on Wednesday, one of his children asked him “Hey Dad, does that mean I can light up a joint in front of you soon?” The president responded by saying “No, don’t be confused.”
“I am not in favor of consuming or legalizing marijuana,” Pena Nieto stated in a prose announcing a child welfare program. “I am not in favor because it has been proven, demonstrated, that consuming this substance damages the health of children and youths. However, I am in favor of debate, so that specialists can give us some indication of where we should be going.”
Not too long ago, Miguel Angel Osorio Chong, Interior Secretary, said that the government will soon begin a nationwide debate on the use of marijuana, with public sessions to be held towards the end of January. Some of these debates will be hosted at four regional forums, and may even be accessed from the internet.
The debate will be primarily focused on public policy, health and social impact. As of right now, Mexico has decriminalized the possession of minimal amounts of cannabis, but reformers would like to take it to the next level; they want to legal the recreational and medical uses of marijuana. Pena Nieto did not approve of activists’ claims that “legalization would reduce drug cartels’ incomes from the trade.”
“It isn’t valid, and I don’t agree, that this legalization would make it easier to fight organized crime, by reducing the illicit income and profits from this activity,” Pena Nieto said. “That would beg the question, should we put the health of Mexican children and youths at risk in order to combat organized crime?”