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Debate Roils Over Future of Legal Marijuana in Mexico

Activists and legal experts discuss troubling inconsistencies in the country's laws on consumption and possession

2 years ago

Juan Francisco Torres Landa, one of the four people approved to smoke marijuana by the Mexican Supreme Court, asserted that there are absurdities written into the country’s laws regarding possession and consumption of the drug.

“The difference is that I want to be able to make decisions about what I do with my body without a gun to my head, threatening me and saying that I caught you with more than five grams and I’m going to send you to jail. I’m not going to arrest you for consumption, but for the possession. What is the difference between possession and consumption? Because I’m going to have it all the time, so do I have to smoke it quickly so that it’s consumption and not possession?”


Experts and activists debate the future of marijuana in Mexico at a recent seminar in Mexico City. Photo: The News/Guillermo Espinosa

While attending the “Seminar on the autonomy and politics of consumption of marijuana” at Auditorio Dr. Héctor Fix Zamudio on the campus of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), Torres Landa said that Mexican citizens should not be supporting prohibition, but rather aspiring to a change in public policy and the regulations on consumption.

“The point here is not that we should regulate it, but rather who is going to regulate it? Nowadays do you know who regulates it? Organized crime, because what we did is give them a gift, the monopoly on the regulation of narcotic drugs they sell us. I’m going to take a step back, because I’m going to make sure that the drug doesn’t get to your children,” said Torres Landa.

On the other hand, professor Fernando Cano Valle of the Institute for Legal Investigations of UNAM said that there are inconsistencies in the terms that others want to be established regarding the consumption for medical and scientific uses versus recreational uses.

I’m going to have it all the time, so do I have to smoke it quickly so that it’s consumption and not possession?”

-Juan Francisco Torres Landa. Marijuana consumer and activist

“Cosumption should not be punished, it never has been. We don’t tell anyone that we are going to arrest them for consumption, but we do for consumption and that’s where the inconsistencies start. If I can consume and it’s legal what I do to my own body but supplying myself with what I want to consume is prohibited, it obliges me to be in contact with criminal supply chains, chains that are illegal. Well there’s another dichotomy …

The national discussions about legalizing or not legalizing the consumption of marijuana has given birth to debates as those that took place in the “Seminar on the autonomy and politics of consumption of marijuana”, organized by the UNAM Insitute for Legal Investigations.


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