Mexican President Declares His Disinterest in Recreational Legalization

Did it all come down to this?
Mexican Federal Police Scorch 13-Square-Mile Cannabis Grow Site

In front of Mexico’s Senate building, a group of cannabis activists has erected a semi-permanent protest camp meant to call attention to the Supreme Court’s impending April 30th deadline for legislators to regulate recreational marijuana. Inside the building, the chamber opened discussion on the regulatory plan today. 

But Wednesday morning, the country’s president dealt a seemingly lethal blow to hopes for a green future. 

At his daily early morning press conference on Wednesday, President Andres Manuel López Obrador, commonly known as AMLO, said his administration is no longer interested in guaranteeing the constitutional right to cultivate and consume marijuana recognized by the country’s top court. The president is largely regarded as having absolute control over the policies of his Morena Party, which he founded in 2014.

“We’ll have to see about that, but we’re not thinking about taking that route,” AMLO told a reporter who had asked about the progress of cannabis legalization. “Only for medical uses, only for health purposes.”

“There’s a possibility of guaranteeing the use of non-harmful drugs with medicinal uses,” he continued. “That is completely different.” 

His statements are in direct conflict with the country’s Secretary of Health Jorge Alcocer Varela, who just last month called Mexico’s prohibitionist strategy “unsustainable.” AMLO’s Morena Party controls the Senate, and members have proposed several legislative initiatives to legalize adult use cannabis, making the president’s assertions all the more unexpected — though he is widely concerned to be against cannabis legalization on a personal level.

Throughout the first year of his term, AMLO has appeared to be more interested in demonizing drugs than legalizing them. Indeed, in Wednesday’s press conference he insinuated that drug consumption could cause Mexicans to be murdered. 

“60% of those who lose their lives daily, 60% of people murdered in shootings show signs that they were under the effects of drugs or alcohol, but fundamentally drugs,” AMLO affirmed, failing to cite the source of the dubious statistic. 

The Issue of Violent Crime

Violent crime in Mexico is not a matter for supposition. Since AMLO’s administration has taken office, murder rates have soared to record highs. In 2019, an average of 95 people were murdered every day

The president has faced intense criticism for his strategy in handling the violence, and in particular the country’s femicide crisis. A spate of gory deaths of women of all ages recently led AMLO to state he would fight against gender-based violence with a plan for “moral regeneration”. The seeming callousness of his remarks is among the factors prompting a women’s strike that is being planned in the country for Monday, March 9th. 

Wednesday’s press conference also featured the debut of a video from the president’s latest “say no to drugs” campaign. The clip focused on the danger of synthetic drugs, and the insalubrious ingredients that are used to make them — two themes of an educational expo that the president promised would soon be taking place in Mexico City’s Zócalo, the capital’s main plaza. 

AMLO also took the opportunity to acknowledge the failure of last year’s “Juntos Por La Paz” [“Together For Peace”] anti-drug campaign, saying that it was too “subliminal” to be effective. “That’s why the decision has been made to go with a more direct campaign,” he said.

  1. I think AMLO is buckling under the pressure coming out of Washington and he needs to tell Trump to stay the hell out of his domestic policies. I know he is only doing it for the money that he gets from the US, but he needs to stick to his guns and deal with Trump to try to slow or stop illegal immigration and for the US to do more to stop the flow of guns going south into Mexico. It’s the same old story. If Americans weren’t buying the drugs then nobody would waste their time smuggling into the US. Until the US starts approaching drug abuse as a health issue then nothing is going to change for anyone unfortunately,especially for Mexico because they are the ones really suffering from the violence and killing by the cartels. Everyone needs to get realistic about this situation. The cartels have as much if not more money than the Mexican government which means more corruption and being outgunned by the bad guys. So I guess the ball is really in Washington’s hands for real. Nothing new there and I don’t advise anyone to hold their breath either.

  2. Wow! – I had high hopes for AMLO. He ran as a populist, but is now joining in on the persecution of millions of people who prefer near harmless marijuana over addictive, very harmful alcohol. — He says:

    >>>”“60% of those who lose their lives daily, 60% of people murdered in
    shootings show signs that they were under the effects of drugs or
    alcohol, but fundamentally drugs,” AMLO affirmed, failing to cite the
    source of the dubious statistic.”

    So AMLO is now stating that “drugs,” – meaning marijuana – cause more violence and crime than alcohol! – He’s either very stupid or very corrupt.

    I’m now beginning to see AMLO’s “inability” to reduce the drug cartels, or their violence, in a different light.

    What Mexico needs is another revolution! – Against the thug-ocracy!

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