• The debate should be conducted from a human rights perspective, he said.
• It is a task we must undertake as a state, he declared.
• This will enable us to reach a position we must submit as a country in the call the UN has made for an international debate on the issue, he said.
During the Fourth National Forum: Let’s Join Forces. For Security, Citizens + Police, President Enrique Peña Nieto instructed the Ministry of the Interior to ensure that, through the Deputy Minister’s Office of Human Rights, a broad, specialized debate is conducted, from a human rights perspective, to establish the policies and actions which, as a state, it must define in the event of the legalization of marijuana use in the country.
He said that, “Sociologists, physicians, academics, and specialists in the field should be invited to take part in this debate.” He noted that in addition to specialists, the debate should also involve the executive and legislative branches, as indicated by a sentence by the First Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice, which granted an injunction to four people to plant and use marijuana.
The president explained that this will make it possible to reach a position which, as a country, it will have to submit, “In response to the call by the United Nations to hold an international debate on this issue in April of next year.”
He added that a debate on this issue is not unique to our country. “It is an issue which, in the end, is occurring worldwide. The debate over the eventual legalization of marijuana use is present in different countries, in different parts of the hemisphere and elsewhere,” he said.
Therefore, he said, “We cannot make our own decisions as a country unless we clarify our position on the debate that will eventually be held at an international level.”
He stressed that this, “Is a task we must undertake as a state, not in a single field or branch.” It is a task, he said, that the “Executive and legislative branches must assume together so that, as a result of this debate, we will be able to arrive at a much clearer, sharper and more accurate definition.”
He stressed that, “In Mexican society, there is not a single demand or a single position on the possible approval or otherwise of marijuana use.”
The president explained that, as stated in the court sentence, “Marijuana use has harmful effects on health. However, from a human rights perspective, it is impossible to deprive someone, particularly the four people who filed this injunction, to make use of their freedom, and eventually, their desire to use it.”
He noted that the Court's ruling sets a precedent for a broad debate on the subject, which, “In no way involves greater openness and liberalization as regards the use of drugs that are far more damaging to personal and public health.”
The debate on the issue will enable us, “To go far beyond a court order, and see the medical and sociological scope that possible openness towards the use of marijuana, would have,“ he said.
What is very clear, he said, “Is that marijuana use, as established by this judicial precedent, must be observed from a human rights perspective, not only from the perspective of thinking about criminalization or not, in other words, making those who use any drug or marijuana in particular, or who use it for medical reasons subject to penal law.”
President Peña Nieto said that, “My personal position on the issue in various forums is no secret. Personally, he declared, “I have always said, and I continue to maintain, that for me, it would not be desirable, nor am I in favor of the eventual legalization of marijuana use.”
He explained that this position is not at odds, “With the acceptance and personal conviction I have of the need for a debate," which, scientifically, with solid arguments, “Could eventually enable us to arrive at another position.”
“I am one of those who believe that openness in this respect could lead to the use of other drugs that are far more harmful to individual and public health. However, I cannot be sole owner of the truth. That’s my personal conviction. I'm open, and I will be as president, to gathering properly documented, scientifically sustainable positions that could eventually lead to a different position,” he said.