Mexico has opened a national debate on its cannabis laws, signaling a possible shift on the issue and an end to the country’s prohibitionist laws on the substance.
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto called for the formation of five public debates on the issue, following an openness by the country’s supreme court to the legalization of recreational cannabis.
“This is an issue that has directly or indirectly affected the lives of millions of Mexicans,”
said the country’s interior minister, Miguel Angel Osorio Chong, at the first debate.
“Such a delicate issue cannot be left to improvisation.”
While Pena Nieto rejected the argument that the legalization of recreational cannabis would strip drug cartels of a major source of their income –a notion that has been put forward by many advocates of legalization– he nonetheless said he was open to a changing of the country’s regulations on the issue.
Public opinion polls indicate that while most Mexicans are opposed to the legalization of recreational cannabis, they remain supportive of its use for medical purposes.
Mexico is not the only country in the region grappling with the issue — Colombia and Uruguay have both relaxed their cannabis laws, while Chile’s Congress is currently debating a bill that would legalize its use.