Mexico to Review Drug Policy after US Marijuana Legalization

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The head of President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto’s transition team stated that the move to legalize marijuana in two US states means the incoming Mexican government will have to review its policies on the drug.

Luis Videgaray Caso said that the passing of marijuana legalization ballots in Washington and Colorado threw Mexican drug policy into question, reported Notimex.

“Obviously we can’t treat a product as illegal in Mexico and try to prevent it being trafficking to the United States when it has legal status there,” Videgaray declared.

He added that the government would need to review its joint policies with the United States on drug trafficking and security, reported the Washington Times.

Ex-Secretary of Foreign Affairs Jorge Castañeda said in a radio interview prior to the passing of the ballots, “Why are we busting trucks of marijuana in Mexico when they are selling it … in some US states? There is no logic to it. It is schizophrenic.”

Peña Nieto is set to travel to Washington for a meeting with newly re-elected President Barack Obama on November 27.

InSight Crime Analysis

It remains to be seen how far these legalization measures will be put into practice. It is still unclear how US federal authorities, who still consider marijuana to be illegal, will react. As analyst Alejandro Hope noted, there are several routes the government could take, including tackling legalization in the courts or increasing federal anti-narcotics agents in Colorado and Washington.

Videgaray’s statements could be interpreted as an attempt to pressure the Obama administration to act against the legalization measures. Though Peña Nieto said earlier this year that he was open to debating legalization as a strategy, he has declared himself to be personally opposed to it.

Mexico is one of the world’s largest producers of marijuana, with an estimated 16,500 hectares under cultivation, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime World Drug Report 2012. In 2011, the Mexican government seized 909 tons of marijuana.

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