Nearly a month after Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled in favor of the rights of four defendants to cultivate and consume marijuana without legal repercussion, the government has announced that it will take up the issue of nationwide legalization in the next legislative session.
The Associated Press reported earlier this week that Interior Secretary Miguel Angel Osorio Chong has revealed plans to hold a national debate on the concept of bringing the nation out of prohibitionary times. This discussion will include public hearings and a number of forums, some of which will be broadcast over the Internet.
Although Mexico has decriminalized small amounts of marijuana, lawmakers are expected to weigh in on exactly what might be expected in terms of health and public safety under a fully legal rule. The overall goal is to push the prohibitionist mentality into a more progressive thought process and eventually lead the country to support a taxed and regulated marketplace.
Unfortunately, on the heels of this major announcement, Mexico President Enrique Pena Nieto has come out in full force against the issue.
On Wednesday, during a press engagement for a new children’s program, Pena Nieto told the crowd that one of his kids recently asked him if they would soon be able “to light up a joint” in his presence. The president then proceeded to explain that he remains against marijuana legalization because he fears it will destroy the youth of the nation.
“I am not in favor of consuming or legalizing marijuana,” Pena Nieto said. “I am not in favor because it has been proven, demonstrated, that consuming this substance damages the health of children and youths.”
Yet, many supporters of the movement to establish a nationwide cannabis industry have suggested that ending cartel violence should be one of the primary motivations for moving in this direction. However, President Pena Nieto disagrees, arguing that, in no way, would legalization stop the cartels.
“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,” he said. “That would beg the question, should we put the health of Mexican children and youths at risk in order to combat organized crime?”
What do you think? Could the legalization of cannabis destroy the youth?