Mexico’s President Wants To Decriminalize Illegal Drugs — But Which?

By Jorge Valencia
Published: Monday, May 13, 2019 - 9:02am
Updated: Monday, May 13, 2019 - 10:58am
MORENA/Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador
Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

Mexico's president is proposing major drug reform in his country, decriminalizing illegal drugs and transferring resources from fighting drug trafficking to efforts towards reducing drug addiction.

The national development plan, published by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s office in late April, doesn’t specify which illicit drugs would be legalized, but it says prohibition is unsustainable because of the violence it generates and because it doesn’t successfully reduce addiction.

“The only real possibility to reduce drug consumption is to lift the prohibition of drugs that are currently illegal, reorient resources to combat trafficking and apply them to programs for reintegration and detoxification,” the plan states.

It's unlikely López Obrado will move to legalize opioids or stimulants, but that it is likely he'll take action toward at least one type of drug that is currently illegal, according to some analysts.

"I believe that during this administration, there will be great progress, specifically about marijuana,” said Julio Sabines Chesterking, a security consultant in Mexico City.

Legalization in Canada and several U.S. states, in some ways, paves the way for Mexico, Sabines said. Previous Mexican presidents have also expressed support for allowing the sale of marijuana.

The plan also calls for cooperation with the U.S. government and the United Nations in any efforts for decriminalization.

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