San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Mexico

Mexico's Peña Nieto wants expert debate on marijuana legalization

MEXICO CITY – Mexico’s president indicated on Monday that his administration could drop its opposition to legalizing marijuana based on results of a debate of experts on the matter.

Five days after the Supreme Court authorized four people to grow their own pot for consumption, President Enrique Peña Nieto said he would convene medical experts, sociologists, academics and civil society to debate the issue.

“I have always said that I, personally, am not in favor of an eventual legalization of marijuana,” Peña Nieto said during a security forum, warning that cannabis could lead to the consumption harder drugs. “However, I can’t be the sole owner of the truth.”

He added: “I am open, and I will remain open as president, to collecting documented, scientifically proven positions that could eventually lead to a different position.”

If that were to be the case, Peña Nieto said, the government and the Congress would have to come up with “convenient and prudent legislation” to regulate marijuana.

The top court’s landmark Nov. 4 ruling, though limited to just four people, raised hope against supporters of marijuana legalization that Mexico would drop its ban.

Four more similar rulings by the Supreme Court would set a legal precedent to change the law.

The four members of the Mexican Society for Responsible and Tolerant Personal Use (the Spanish acronym is SMART), who won the court ruling, said their goal is to force Congress to legislate.

The group believes that legalizing marijuana in Mexico would dry up a major source of revenue for drug cartels, leading to a reduction in the gang turf wars that have killed tens of thousands of people.

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