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Opinion
Ricardo Castillo
Ricardo Castillo Who Will Grow and Sell Weed? How much did the U.S. Embassy and the Merida Initiative officials influence President Enrique Peña Nieto in drafting the document?
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The “marijuana legalization” bill sent Thursday by President Enrique Peña Nieto to the Senate is indeed full of good intentions. For one it will legalize the once “evil weed,” a source for medical production.

The bill also contains a proposal to legalize the possession of up to an ounce of grass in order to keep heads out of the tank and avoid getting a police record for trafficking.

So far, so good but in one of the clauses, and this is where the questioning of the bill begins, he mentions that the use of medications containing marijuana byproducts will be available as “imports.”

And nowhere in the President’s speech did he touch the words “production and marketing.”

In short a smoker will be able to legally possess up to 28 grams (one ounce) of marijuana for personal use should the bill become a law, but again, and this is the nitty gritty of the issue, who will be legally supplying the weed?

In a presentation of the bill that was full of good intentions and propositions, not once was government controlled legal sowing and harvesting of marijuana even mentioned.

There are a lot of questions to answer on this bill and surely now that it has hit the Senate floor they will be made public by the senators but is there an urgency to approve it?

In the five symposia to discuss the legality and illegality of marijuana, that were held in five different Mexican states, it became clear from analysts and plaintiffs that the current system is obsolete hence, the president’s personal change of stance on the issue.

But the real problem the nation is confronting is not a bunch of kids getting high on grass but the brutal onslaught of organized criminals who are in charge of doing the production and marketing of weed.

Their territorial wars have produced over 100,000 dead and the Mexican government has been unable to stop them. And be sure that even though there may be a lot of corruption within governmental ranks, many an officer has died on duty fighting the gangs and society thanks them for it.

The use of the word “imports” was dropped by the president and sort of left hanging as meaningless.

Though the bill mentions the possible fabrication by national laboratories of drugs containing marijuana byproducts the issue of where those labs will source the raw material required to extract the medical goods of the plant is also an open question.

Critics of the president claim that paying heed to “the marijuana problem” is clearly a political one as the rumblings of the 2018 presidential elections can already be heard and the president wants to make his Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) look good particularly now that his popularity has plummeted in all recent polls.

This marijuana bill surely makes him look good in the eyes of many of his critics and his duty within the PRI is to pave the road to reelect the PRI for the next six-year term. So the president’s change of course in the theme of marijuana use is politically tainted too.

Now, these comments are not accusations but observations in what’s lacking in the president’s marijuana bill and if they are made it is because the bill presents enormous loopholes that the Senate has to respond to in building the regulatory framework on it.

But now that I mention the Senate, the question is how long it will be before the Senate even considers this particular bill which was sent somewhat extemporaneously to them.

In the eyes of Mexicans, more important than legalizing marijuana for medical purposes is the anti-corruption bill now being discussed and which should be approved by the Senate preferably before the end of April.

Finally, and this is a question I make myself, how much did the U.S. Embassy and the Merida Initiative officials influence President Enrique Peña Nieto in drafting the document?

Was it the DEA’s idea that you can legalize medical use and “import” (from where if not the U.S.?) pharmaceuticals and not be able to grow and sell grass?

Was it? I’m just wondering!

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