President Enrique Peña Nieto spoke out yesterday in support of allowing the scientific and medical use of marijuana and increasing the amount that individuals can legally possess for personal use.
The president’s remarks represented a major milestone in the national debate over marijuana use, whose legalization has not had widespread support, even from Peña Nieto himself.
The president was speaking before the Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly on the World Drug Problem (UNGASS). There, he presented the conclusions reached after his administration opened the issue for discussion through public forums earlier this year.
Peña Nieto said that internationally prohibition hasn’t yielded the expected results, and that Mexico has had to pay an “excessive” cost in terms of the loss of human lives.
“The availability of and access to controlled substances for medical and scientific use should be guaranteed, while avoiding at the same time their misuse and trafficking,” he said.
Peña Nieto said he believed a new international consensus is emerging, “one that favors meaningful reforms to drug regulations . . . a new focus that resolutely combats criminals and presents consumers with opportunities and alternatives, instead of criminalizing them.”
“Drug use should be addressed as a public health issue and not with penal mechanisms that criminalize consumers . . . .”
“Addiction to drugs should be treated through prevention and therapeutic solutions, and drug-related crimes should be punished proportionally, with alternatives to jail time, such as rehabilitation and social readaptation.”
The president acknowledged that current sanctions are disproportionate, “which even punish women and children, generating vicious circles of marginality and criminality.”
Peña Nieto’s presentation at UNGASS offered a 10-point proposal:
• International cooperation to share responsibility for the drug problem;
• a common front that combats transnational organized crime;
• Greater collaboration between specialized UN agencies on the issue of drug use;
• An alignment of public policy with the efforts of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development;
• Provide support to communities affected by organized crime, like educational, labor and recreational alternatives;
• Consider the worldwide issue of drug use from the perspective of human rights;
• Provide prevention mechanisms and comprehensive solutions to drug addiction;
• Favor proportional punishments and alternatives to jail time that take gender into consideration;
• A global campaign focused on preventing drug use among children and teenagers; and
• Guarantee the availability of and better access to controlled substances for medical and scientific use.
Peña Nieto called on the countries present at UNGASS to fight the world drug problem together by stopping illegal trafficking and preventing abuse, because “the global drug problem is a phenomenon that knows no borders and harms all societies.”
Source: Milenio (sp)