President Enrique Peña Nieto today signed and submitted to Congress, specifically the Senate, a reform proposal for the General Health Law and the Federal Penal Code.

“The terms of the debate on drugs are undeniably changing in Mexico and the world. Mexicans are well aware of the scope and limitations of the essentially prohibitionist and punitive scheme, the so-called 'war on drugs' that has prevailed for more than 40 years at the international level.”

If its terms are approved, this initiative will:

One. Authorize the use of drugs made from marijuana and/or their active ingredients. In this respect, the registration and importation of medicines containing marijuana and/or THC in the country would be permitted.

Like all medicines, products made from cannabis extracts would also be subject to strict health controls to demonstrate the quality, safety and efficacy of their therapeutic qualities.

Two. The reform proposal also plans to authorize clinical research for the purposes of registration for products containing marijuana and its active ingredients.

Three. The bill proposes that possession for personal use of up to 28 grams of marijuana is not considered a crime, according to international standards. This means that use will no longer be criminalized.

Increasing the amount allowed will also provide an opportunity to free users who currently imprisoned or on trial for having carried less than 28 grams of marijuana.

“Through this proposal, we wish to avoid two kinds of injustices: on the one hand, the kind suffered by children and patients like Grace, who suffer some form of epilepsy or other conditions, and did not have access to effective therapeutic products made from marijuana.

 And, on the other hand, the injustice suffered by thousands of people, especially women, many of them mothers, who were criminalized for using marijuana and are now serving disproportionate sentences.”

This reform proposal is a firm step towards a new paradigm, which views drugs from a preventive, public health and human rights approach.

The initiative will be accompanied by a renewed institutional effort to prevent addiction, especially aimed at the protection of children and youth.

“Assuming its global responsibility, Mexico will continue to provide its expertise and constructive spirit. Our nation will coordinate with other countries at the regional and international level to determine what has worked and discard what has failed. The aim is for consensus to continue to grow and be consolidated in the world.

The aim is for the international community to be able to define a new global or at least hemispheric paradigm with the necessary vision, tools and consensus to move from a mere ban to the effective prevention and regulation of drugs.

A new global consensus is gradually emerging in favor of a reform of the international drug control regime. The UN Special Session on drugs marked the beginning of this process which is expected to culminate in 2019.

It is a new approach, promoted by an increasing number of countries, to continue resolutely fighting criminals, but rather than criminalizing consumers, to offer them opportunities and alternatives.