AMLO discards recreational use of marijuana and launches new anti-drug campaign


President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said that the analysis carried out by his government to legalize marijuana only contemplates medicinal use, so he ruled out the possibility of authorizing recreational use.

In his morning press conference, the president presented a video that is part of a new stage of the campaign that aims to inhibit the use of drugs. It shows the unhealthy conditions in which synthetic drugs are manufactured, as well as the toxic substances used for their manufacture.

“We are analyzing everything that helps to ensure that there is no violence, that consumption is not increased and at the same time that medical attention is guaranteed to those who require it,” he said.

After a long speech on the social programs of his government in which he figures his plan for violence and insecurity (attention to “the root causes” attributed to inequality), the president was questioned regarding the legalization of marijuana and poppy production for medical purposes. In this regard, he warned that he still does not have a definitive proposal.

“Everything is a plan, let’s go slowly, watching. This issue of chemical, synthetic drugs matters a lot to us because they are as destructive and harmful as possible. So if there is also the possibility of guaranteeing the use of non-harmful drugs, for medicinal purposes … it is completely different, ”he said.

Marijuana for medical purposes only

The president said that an eventual approval to legalize marijuana would be strictly for medical purposes.

He also acknowledged that the Together for Peace campaign, the first one launched by his government to raise awareness about the effects of drugs did not work.

“It was so subliminal, it was not understood and what we want is to inform, is to make known what happens, that’s why we chose this more direct campaign,” he said.

He also announced that an exhibition is planned in the capital Zócalo in which “kitchens” of drug production are exhibited so that citizens can have an approach to what toxic substances are used in its manufacture.

How has AMLO flipflopped on Marijuana issues

One of the characteristics within López Obrador’s policy to resolve some issues considered controversial such as the decriminalization of drugs, equal marriage or abortion, has been to resort to consultation, and it is the Mexicans who decide.    

Since serving as head of government in Mexico City, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has been reluctant to talk about the legal consumption of marijuana, has even been pointed out by his political rivals to be conservative.   

However, by the year 2012, within the framework of his second presidential candidacy, journalistic records resume a change in his speech, since he says that “it is a sensitive matter”, which must be submitted for consultation, and open the discussion.     

But, for 2013, after the electoral defeat against Enrique Peña Nieto and being president of the National Council of his Morena party, the AMLO said he did not share the opinion of the then head of government, Miguel Ángel Mancera, regarding discussing the decriminalization of the marijuana in the then Federal District.      

“ I respect his point of view but I don’t share it . I think that the first thing has to be to guarantee the right of the people to work, to a fair salary, ”said AMLO, and even questioned that other matters be discussed if the fundamentals are not addressed.

But already for his third presidential campaign , and after a record number in intentional homicides, and an increase in insecurity and violence, the Tabasco politician showed sparks of his change in posture.  

” Legalization of drugs  is an issue that should be discussed … Why not treat it?”, Were the words of López Obrador in full campaign and during a Forum on Peace and Justice, convened by the poet Javier Sicilia.  

After winning the 2018 elections, part of his team, began to raise the possibility of the legalization of drugs, mainly marijuana, as a strategy to guarantee peace. 

Thus, in view of December 1 when López Obrador would assume the Presidency, the former SCJN minister who served as senator presented an initiative that contemplates the decriminalization, regulation, and sale of marijuana for recreational purposes.     

Even during the transition process, Sánchez Cordero declared that AMLO gave him an open letter to discuss drug decriminalization. These statements were also given in the framework of the pacification forums, which among other ideas raised amnesty to farmers dedicated to the planting of drugs, or to women who are used to transport drugs.     

In addition, Marcelo Ebrard traveled to Canada to discuss the experience of that country on the legalization of marijuana, as well as analyze the failures of the drug policy in the country.   


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