Newly elected Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto recently told CNN that while he is opposed to legalized marijuana for his own country, the recent landmark legalization of recreational pot in Colorado and Washington, “could bring us to rethinking the strategy.”
President Nieto’s admission is significant for a nation that is not only a large producer of exported marijuana but is also one plagued with horrific drug violence – at least 55,000 people have been killed in Mexico in just the last six years by drug cartels and law enforcement due to outdated prohibition policies and laws.
According to reportage by the L.A. Times, pot legalization is already being considered and promoted by prominent Mexican elected officials, such as Mexican Congress legislator Fernando Belaunzaran (Democratic Revolution Party), who introduced a national legalization bill.
It’s estimated that pot profits generate up to 25 percent of the ruthless cartels’ earnings and Belaunzaran wants to cut into that blood-tainted revenue. The governor of the Mexican state of Colima, Mario Anguiano Moreno, suggested Colima should enact a legalization referendum, and even prior to the passage of the historic ballot measures in Colorado and Washington, Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera proposed organizing a national forum for pot legalization.
Of course not everyone’s on board with cannabis legalization. Particularly egregious was an editorial in the Mexican newspaper Reforma in which columnist Sergio Aguayo termed the U.S. pot legalization movement a “slap in the face” of former Mexican President and staunch drug-war advocate Felipe Calderon – as if the overdue necessity of cannabis legalization should be bypassed to somehow justify the legacy of Calderon’s short-sighted administration. Despite such rhetoric, it seems the tide may be finally turning in Mexico just as it is happening to its neighbor up north.