The Evolution of Mexico’s President on Marijuana Law Reform

Politics
The Evolution of Mexico’s President on Marijuana Law Reform

(Photo: EFE)

Attitudes about cannabis legalization can shift quickly. This is because many people only know false information about marijuana; once they have new, true information, it’s easy to adjust opinions on its legality.

Attitudes in Mexico have been shifting quite a bit over the last several months, and these shifts have reverberated all the way up to the country’s President, Enrique Pena Nieto. A new proposal from him would allow the importation and use and medical cannabis, would increase legal possession limits to an ounce and release prisoners who are serving time for minor cannabis offenses.

This comes just months after Nieto said he was against the idea of legalization but welcomed a debate on the subject. It seems that debate is having the desired effect as Mexico moves ever-closer to reducing marijuana prohibition.

“Our country has suffered the harmful effects of drug-linked organized crime. Thankfully, a new global consensus is gradually gathering steam in favor of a reform to the international drug regime,” Pena Nieto said in support of his measure.

“Instead of criminalizing consumers, it will offer alternatives and opportunities.”

As many know, parts of Mexico are in the grips of horrific drug cartel violence. Many see an economic strategy working where a law enforcement strategy has failed. While legalization goes a long way toward undercutting the black market where the cartels get much of their profit to fuel the violence, Nieto’s proposal doesn’t specifically address the issue of legal marijuana selling.

Without legal sales to go with the legalization of possession, all you are really doing is giving the cartels more protection and incentive to focus on selling more marijuana. Only retail cannabis shops selling at lower prices than the black market can stand will take profits from the deadly cartels and begin to give the Mexican people a break from the unending violence.