Updated 07:57 AM EST, Sun, Feb 28, 2021

Marijuana Legalization: Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto Open to Debate Despite Refusing to Lift Ban on Pot

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Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has objected to marijuana legalization despite the country's Supreme Court ruled in favor of four people who wanted to grow the plant for medicinal use.

In a speech on Monday, Mexico's leader said that the court ruling "should in no way represent an opening for the consumption of much more dangerous drugs," The Guardian reported. However, Peña Nieto said that he is open to a national debate on the issue and has invited doctors, sociologists, and other academic members to participate.

"We'll need to establish a debate ... and the federal government is open to that, so that along with the legislative branch, we work together, creating specialized forums, which will allow us to have a much clearer, more open position of the horizon that's coming," the president said at an event, as quoted by The Guardian.

Peña Nieto also said that it was essential for Mexico to know its strong stance on the issue before a major United Nations drugs policy meeting in April 2016, the news outlet noted.

The vote by the Mexican Supreme Court declared that individuals should have the right to grow and distribute pot for personal use, The New York Times wrote. Proponents of the legalization said that although the ruling does not take down drug laws currently in effect, it provides the groundwork for a number of legal actions that could eventually rewrite them.

The Supreme Court's decision "reflects a changing dynamic" in Mexico, The New York Times noted. The drug passage from Mexico to the United States is still continuing, alongside the political corruption it stimulates in the North American nation. Incessant U.S.-led campaigns have been set up against drug traffickers, but Mexico is still shrouded with violence.

More than 100,000 people have died in drug-related violence in Mexico since 2007, The Guardian further reported. There are some speculations that legalizing marijuana in Mexico and the U.S. could stop the cartels from selling the drug.

An opinion survey conducted by the Parametria polling firm in October indicated that 77 percent of Mexicans are not in favor of pot legalization, while 20 percent of those surveyed supported the idea, the news outlet wrote. The poll had a margin of error of four percentage points.

However, there are also those who think that legalizing marijuana will not lessen drug violence or stop the gangs. The increased production of higher-quality marijuana in the U.S. lowers the demand for imports from Mexico, but experts said that Mexican gangs "continue to account for an important percentage of the American supply," The New York Times noted.

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