Mexican President Peña Nieto began speaking out and criticizing global drug policy one year ago; and now Mexico has legalized Marijuana for medical purposes.
In the United States; a growing number of states stand up to the marijuana prohibition by the federal government. On Monday; Mexico legalized medical cannabis nationwide.
A decree was issued by Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto after the bill’s overwhelming approval by Mexico’s Senate in December. The senate vote was 98-7; and in April from Mexico’s Lower House of Congress, a vote of 374-7.
“The ruling eliminates the prohibition and criminalization of acts related to the medicinal use of marijuana and its scientific research, and those relating to the production and distribution of the plant for these purposes.”
The countries Ministry of Health is to be in charge of “public policies regulating the medicinal use of pharmacological derivatives of cannabis sativa, indica and Americana or marijuana, including tetrahydrocannabinol, its isomers and stereochemical variants, as well as how to regulate the research and national production of them.” the decree stated.
Mexico’s Secretary of Health also applauded the measure. Dr. Jose Narro Robles wrote on Twitter that, “I welcome the approval of the therapeutic use of cannabis in Mexico,”
— José Narro Robles (@JoseNarroR) May 2, 2017
Peña Nieto used to be against cannabis legalization; but has apparently changed his mind, after a nationwide public debate in early 2016 regarding legalization. The U.S. is encouraged to follow Mexico’s lead; he says.
Peña Nieto asked for a change in global drug policy during his speech in 2016 at the United Nations General Assembly Special Sessions. He believes drug use should be regarded as a “public health problem,” and that users shoudn’t be faced with criminal charges.
“So far, the solutions [to control drugs and crime] implemented by the international community have been frankly insufficient,” PeñaNieto said. “We must move beyond prohibition to effective prevention.”
There was a measure introduced in April of 2016 by Peña Nieto which would’ve decriminalized possessing up to one ounce of marijuana. The bill was stalled in Congress; but it would have freed anyone on trial, or who was serving jail time for the possession of up to an ounce of cannabis.
“We Mexicans know all too well the range and the defects of prohibitionist and punitive policies, and of the so-called war on drugs that has prevailed for 40 years. Our country has suffered, as few have, the ill effects of organized crime tied to drug trafficking. Fortunately, a new consensus is gradually emerging worldwide in favor of reforming drug policies. A growing number of countries are strenuously combating criminals, but instead of criminalizing consumers, they offer them alternatives and opportunities.”
In September of 2015; Grace Elizalde, an 8-year old girl with epilepsy, because the first legally recognized medical marijuana patient in Mexico during September of 2015. The family sought out the cannabis treatment after their daughter started to suffer from upwards of 400 seizures in a single day. The Free Thought Project had reported on this.
The decision by Mexico to legalize cannabis for medical reasons; along with Peña Nieto’s newly found support for change in the global drug policy; reminds the U.S. that after nearly a 50 year fight in the failed “War on Drugs” the federal government still refuses to accept the real answer to the problem.