Mexico's President-Elect Says He's Open To Drug Legalization

On Sunday, political leftist Andrés Manuel López Obrador won a landslide victory to become Mexico's next president, effective December 1st. Having proclaimed a desire to transition away from pursuing criminal charges for people who consume drugs and toward treatment-based programs, his government could be the one to finally repeal cannabis prohibition in Mexico.

López Obrador has not made any comments on the legalization of cannabis specifically, but other members of his staff have. His pick for interior secretary during the presidential transition, Olga Sánchez Cordero, has been quite vocal about her opinions on cannabis legalization, saying that she will "seek the decriminalization of marijuana for recreational use."

However, López Obrador has committed himself to the reduction of violent crimes in Mexico, something that will likely require a restructuring of drug laws.

"I will achieve peace, that’s my commitment, I will achieve peace and end the war - we are not going to continue with the same strategy that hasn’t brought us positive results," stated López Obrador.

Sánchez Cordero, a former Supreme Court official, says she plans to "propose to Andrés Manuel" the legalization of cannabis.

"The world war on drugs has failed," Sánchez Cordero wrote in Mexican newspaper Milenio. "Nothing contributes to peace by legislating on the basis of more criminal punishment and permanent confrontation. Violence is not fought with violence, as López Obrador rightly points out."

Mexico has been slowly expanding their cannabis laws since medical marijuana was legalized by current Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto in 2017. Much of Mexico's current cannabis market is controlled by drug cartels - including one that the US government has labeled as the source of the majority of Mexican homicides.

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The fight to legalize cannabis nationwide should begin by helping veterans get access to medical marijuana, according to Massachusetts Representative - and 2020 presidential candidate - Seth Moulton (D). Right now, vets can't use medical marijuana without the risk of losing their Veteran's Affairs benefits, even if they live in a state that has legalized medicinal cannabis. In fact, so much as mentioning cannabis use to their doctor is enough for a vet to get their benefits stripped.

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