Mexico Could Legalize Marijuana: UN Ambassador

Mexico's Ambassador to the UN has raised hopes that the country could explore legalizing marijuana in the not so distant future.

Speaking to Excelsior Ambassador Jorge Montaño said: “What we are also raising (at the UN) ... [is] we will regulate the use of marijuana for recreational purposes."

Montaño stated that this issue will be raised, at the earliest, at the 2016 United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on drugs that the governments of Mexico, Guatemala and Colombia successfully pushed for in 2012. 

The ambassador cited the decision of a number of US states to legalize marijuana as a primary reason for Mexico considering this push, and emphasized that cooperation is needed between countries when exploring regulation. "For us, it's very important for Mexico to take appropriate action in the face of [decisions] of this nature, the US being our neighbor with more than 3,000 km of [shared] border."

In line with Montaño’s words, President Enrique Peña Nieto has said in the past that he is in favor of debating the issue despite personal misgivings about legalizing cannabis, and lawmakers say Mexico cannot be out of step forever with the United States, the principal buyer of illicit drugs that cross the border.

In an interview with Spanish newspaper El País in 2014, Peña Nieto said legalization of marijuana was a "growing phenomenon" and that the policies followed in the last 30-40 years had only led to more drug use and more production of drugs, adding that they were failed policies.

In 2009, Mexico decriminalized possession of up to 5 grams of marijuana, 500 milligrams of cocaine and small amounts of heroin and methamphetamines. However, advocates of reform say this measure has done little, if anything, to cut the number of people arrested for simple drug use, and has done nothing to address crime levels in the country.

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