HomeNewsBriefMexico Readies for 2016 Domestic Drug Policy Debate
BRIEF

Mexico Readies for 2016 Domestic Drug Policy Debate

DRUG POLICY / 4 DEC 2015 BY MIMI YAGOUB EN

Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto has reiterated his disapproval of legalizing marijuana in the country, setting the tables for a debate that could set a key precedent in drug policies throughout Latin America.

“I have clearly and categorically expressed my personal position on several occasions: I am not in favor of consumption or legalization of marijuana,” the president affirmed during the inauguration of a new child welfare program on December 2, reported Proceso.

Peña Nieto’s comments came the same day that Mexico’s Interior Minister, Miguel Angel Osorio Chong, announced marijuana laws will be reviewed in a three-pronged debate beginning in January 2016. This will include forums with experts, academics, and the public, and the analysis of similar experiences in other countries.

In his remarks, Peña Nieto maintained that legalization would not help in the fight against drug trafficking, and questioned whether fighting crime was worth putting children’s health at risk. The president used a personal anecdote to enforce his point, describing how his children approached him and his wife asking, “does that mean I can light up a joint in front of you soon?”

Peña Nieto added that he was nevertheless in favor of a debate exploring the possible uses of marijuana, including for medical purposes.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Drug Policy

This is not the first time Peña Nieto has explicitly rejected marijuana legalization, saying in early November he believes marijuana is a gateway drug to more harmful substances. This came days after Mexico’s Supreme Court opened the door to possible legalization when it allowed four individuals to grow and own marijuana for personal consumption.

It is currently illegal to produce and sell marijuana for commercial purposes in Mexico, although recreational drug consumption and the possession of less than five grams of marijuana was decriminalized in 2009.

InSight Crime Analysis

Mexico’s next steps regarding marijuana legalization could reverberate throughout the Americas.

The stage is now set for a 2016 drug debate between Mexico’s courts and the Peña Nieto administration, with the two sides currently at odds over drug policy — although Peña Nieto has stated he will respect the Supreme Court’s recent ruling. Popular opinion, however, appears to favor the administration. A recent survey by El Universal revealed 66 percent of respondents opposed marijuana legalization, although 63 percent support a debate on the issue.

SEE ALSO:  Mexico News and Profiles

How this debate plays out in Mexico may influence the wider regional drug policy discussion. For instance, Colombia is looking to legalize the medical or scientific use of marijuana, and Brazil has been considering the decriminalization of certain drugs — mirroring policies that already exist in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and Venezuela.

Although Uruguay set a precedent in 2013 when it legalized the production and consumption of marijuana, Mexico is a much larger country with a crucial and highly publicized role in the war against drugs. Indeed, if Mexico takes steps to further liberalize its drug policy, it may encourage other nations in the region to more seriously consider doing the same.

Compartir icon icon icon

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Related Content

MEXICO / 11 JAN 2019

Mexico’s new president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (known as AMLO), was sworn in on December 1, after a five-month transition…

BELTRAN LEYVA ORG / 3 OCT 2012

The recent shooting of CIA agents in Mexico may have been an assassination attempt by organized criminal groups, according to…

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 23 AUG 2016

Mexico's foreign minister has blamed lax US gun control laws for the flood of illegal weapons into the country, in…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…