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Will Mexico’s New President Legalize Cannabis?

López Obrador

While the cannabis community cheered Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party’s electoral victory in Canada, the historic election of the liberal López Obrador in Mexico hasn’t elicited the same exuberance, even though Obrador may prevent a dramatic shift for the better on cannabis and other drug policies. Obrador, unlike Trudeau, didn’t explicitly make ending prohibition a part of his campaign platform. However, there are enough signs available that one can reasonably conclude that the new president will legalize cannabis and reform the greater War on Drugs.

Marijuana Moment reported on Obrador’s coyness on the issue, but that he’s made a promising cabinet selection:

López Obrador, the leftist who became president-elect in a landslide victory on Sunday, expressed openness to considering legalizing all drugs in the country during a May debate. But he’s demurred on taking a personal stance on marijuana legalization specifically.

That said, López Obrador’s pick for interior secretary during the transition, Olga Sánchez Cordero‏, is reportedly pushing the president-elect to end the prohibition of cannabis. Last month, the former Supreme Court official said that she would “seek the decriminalization of marijuana for recreational use,” according to a translation of an AFP interview. She added that part of her involvement in the campaign would be to “propose to Andrés Manuel” ending the prohibition of marijuana cultivation and recreational use. 

“The debate between justice, health and drug trade has never been led by the Mexican state,” she recently tweeted. “It has only been criminalized and fought with the hardening of sanctions, bringing mourning to thousands of families.”

As Reuters first reported, Obrador has criticized the United States Drug War and has called for a softer approach, including amnesty for nonviolent offenders, and a negotiated peace to end the War on Drugs. We’ll see if the new president will be able to withstand opposition from his opponents and the 70% of Mexicans polled that oppose the approach.

Mexico simply debating legalizing cannabis will help continue to spur the movement to end federal prohibition in the United States. If President-elect Obrador does manage to legalize, the U.S.’s war on cannabis will be untenable and we can expect to finally end the failed, harmful, and racist policy of cannabis prohibition within the next few years, a move that will lead to nation after nation legalizing cannabis.

Learn the latest about the domestic and global cannabis markets at the International Cannabis Business Conference this September 27th-28th in Portland, Oregon. After Portland, the ICBC heads to San Francisco, California, February 8-9, 2019, before travelling across the pond to return to Berlin, Germany, from March 30th to April 2nd. Buy your early bird tickets to save yourself money and ensure your spot before the events sell out.

Photo courtesy of Eneas De Troya via Wiki Commons.   

Drug War, López Obrador, Marijuana Moment, Olga Sánchez Cordero, War on Drugs