On Thursday, President Enrique Peña Nieto will announce a new set of actions to be taken regarding marijuana, which he says will focus on prevention and respect for human rights, said Secretary of Health José Narro Robles.
“What’s next is to follow the president’s directions about changing our practices and policy,” said Narro Robles.
Narro Robles stressed that drug policy is above all a health issue. “We need to advance in drug policy, especially with regard to children and young people,” he said. “There needs to be a coherent set of actions in favor of human rights.”
Another policy goal is to stop criminalizing consumers of illegal drugs. This change would necessitate revisions of Mexican marijuana laws that consider possession under a certain amount to personal use.
“The important thing is to not criminalize users who don’t have a serious addiction problem, and to make sure that we have a campaign of education and prevention in place,” said Narro Robles.
The secretary of health warned not to overestimate the effects of the upcoming changes, noting that the debate involves not only drug use but drug trafficking, which is a complex issue with economic, social and familial implications. Although the president has expressed interest in changing government policies toward recreational marijuana use, the new policies that will be announced on Thursday will only concern medical and scientific use of marijuana. With changes in policy towards scientific use of marijuana, studies may be carried out to investigate the possibility of a licit national marijuana industry to produce different medicines and products.
Narro Robles said that international cooperation had been helpful in the debate, noting that the issue concerns more than just one country and can only be resolved through global cooperation.
“The only thing that is clear is that the prohibitionist strategy isn’t working,” said Narro Robles. “Closing our eyes to our problems doesn’t make them go away. What we need to do is cooperate, because our people have paid a very high price, and we don’t want to be the only ones taking action.”
The only thing that’s clear is that the prohibitionist strategy isn’t working. Closing our eyes to our problems doesn’t make them go away.”
-José Narro Robles, Secretary of Health