Mexico may soon decriminalize cannabis

Thor Benson / Cannabis News Box Contributor

Mexico’s president is currently proposing a plan to decriminalize cannabis in the country. Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador outlined his proposal in what is called the “National Development Plan.” The plan would provide prescription cannabis to Mexican citizens, reduce criminal penalties for drug offenses and fund drug treatment efforts. His proposal is currently being looked at by the country’s Congress.

“In the matter of narcotic drugs, the prohibitionist strategy is already unsustainable, not only because of the violence generated by its poor results in terms of public health,” the plan reads. “In most of the countries in which it has been applied, that strategy has not been translated into a reduction of consumption.”

“Worse still, the prohibitionist model inevitably criminalizes consumers and reduces their odds of social reintegration and rehabilitation,” the proposal states. “The ‘war against drugs’ has escalated the public health problem represented by substances currently banned until it becomes a crisis of public security.”

Morgan Fox, media relations director for the National Cannabis Industry Association, told Cannabis News Box that any decriminalization efforts will have a positive effect in Mexico. He said responsible adults shouldn’t be punished for simply consuming cannabis and that Mexico would certainly benefit from a regulated cannabis industry down the line.

“Adults should not be treated like criminals for consuming a substance that is objectively safer than alcohol, and it makes no sense to place control of a popular commodity solely in the hands of dangerous criminals,” Fox said. “Ending prohibition in Mexico, particularly if coupled with a regulated system for production and sales, would almost certainly help decrease crime in that country.”

Fox noted that transporting cannabis to the U.S. is already not very profitable for cartels as more and more U.S. states legalize medical and social use cannabis, so border states wouldn’t have to worry about an influx of cannabis at the border if the country decriminalizes. However, the country decriminalizing could hurt the cartels within Mexico, which could mean it would help reduce the number of people who feel forced to travel north to the border as the cartels lose some of their power.

The American War on Drugs arguably helped create the cartel problems we’re seeing today. The U.S. pressured Central American countries to outlaw drugs like cannabis and helped create a very profitable black market that has been led by violent criminals who have torn these countries apart. Perhaps decriminalization and eventually legalization will help change that.