Legalizing marijuana is an issue of personal freedom and would take money away from violent drug cartels, the mayor of Mexico City says in a new interview.
“My position is always the defense of freedoms,” Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera told El Universal. “I do support legalization.”
Under legalization, the marijuana trade “would not be attractive for purposes of drug trafficking,” the mayor of Mexico’s capital city said, adding that “it would be a blow” to the cartels that currently control the illegal market.
(All quotations automatically translated by Google from the original Spanish.)
Mancera has indicated he may run for Mexico’s presidency in 2018, telling El Universal that if elected he would seek to enact national cannabis law reforms.
Current President Enrique Peña Nieto opposes legalizing marijuana but says he welcomes a national dialogue on the issue.
Mancera said that the government will still have a role to play in regulating cannabis even after prohibition is ended. “The state must ensure that no damage is caused,” he said. “The state can never give up caring for public health.”
Mancera’s comments come a week after Mexico’s Congress announced that it will hold a series of 12 debate sessions digging deep into policy considerations surrounding a possible legalization of marijuana in the country.
Last month, Mancera introduced a proposal in Congress to legalize the importation of cannabis-based medicines.
In November, Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled that individuals have a right to grow and distribute marijuana for personal use. While that case only currently applies to the four individuals who brought it, the right to cultivate and consume cannabis would become binding nationwide if the court ruled similarly a handful of additional times.
The marijuana law reform momentum in Mexico comes as new Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau prepares his government to legalize cannabis nationally. The moves north and south of U.S. borders, combined with an increased number of states likely voting to legalize marijuana this November, add to pressure on President Obama to push changes to federal prohibition laws before he leaves office in January 2017.