Updated 10:52 PM EST, Sat, Feb 16, 2019

Marijuana Legalization Open for Debate in Mexico

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Mexican lawmakers have opened the first batch of debates about legalizing marijuana amid President Enrique Peña Nieto's opposition on the matter and the public's support for medical cannabis.

In the past, Peña Nieto has publicly expressed his opposition on making the cultivation and use of marijuana legal in Mexico.

Despite this, he remained open to public opinion, and even launched a series of debate to hear out opinions from every side of the matter.

In a report from AFP posted in Tico Times, Interior Minister Miguel ángel Osorio Chong spoke at the beginning of the forum launched on Tuesday.

"This is an issue that has directly or indirectly affected the lives of millions of Mexicans. Such a delicate issue cannot be left to improvisation," he said at the beginning of the forum held in Cancun City.

Those who are in favor of legalizing recreational use of medical marijuana argued that decriminalizing it would remove drug cartels' major source of income and would in turn reduce violence in the country.

However, Peña Nieto rejected this kind of reasoning. However, he agreed to have a debate to discuss the pros and cons of marijuana legalization, which will most likely tackle the medical benefits of the plant than its use for recreational purposes.

According to TeleSUR, the first of these debates tackled social issues that involved addiction to the substance as well as potential danger to public safety. The remaining four covered matters related to personal consumption.

The outlet further noted that marijuana decriminalization debates were sparked by a ruling from Mexico's Supreme Court, stating that recreational use of the substance is "a constitutional right."

TelSUR reported about this controversial ruling dated November 2015, which was comprised a 4 to 1 vote from justices in a case presented by an advocacy group.

Despite this, Supreme Court Justice Arturo Zaldivar clarified that the ruling does not "in any way provide authorization of business activities, supplying or any other provision that refers to the sale and/or distribution" of the plant.

In the Supreme Court justice's opinion, limiting adults' recreational use of marijuana is unconstitutional, as it violates the rights of the individual.

Currently, commercialization and production of cannabis in Mexico is unlawful and is thereby punishable by law.

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