• The president signed a bill to reform the General Health Law and the Federal Penal Code to authorize the use of drugs made from marijuana and/or their active ingredients and clinical research for registration purposes. 

• Three. The bill proposes that possession for personal use of up to 28 grams of marijuana is not considered a crime, in keeping with international standards.

• It is a direct result of the proposals and ideas expressed at the National Debate Forums on Marijuana Use.

• This has undoubtedly been a historic debate on a subject that people had avoided discussing.

• The terms of the debate on drugs are changing in Mexico and the world, and fortunately, a new global consensus is gradually emerging in favor of a reform of the international drug control regime, he said.

As he led the event on the conclusions of the National Debate on Marijuana Use today, President Enrique Peña Nieto signed a bill to reform the General Health Law and the Federal Penal Code, whereby “We are taking firm steps towards a new paradigm that views drugs from a prevention, public health and human rights approach.”

After stating that, “This has been a historic debate on a subject people had avoided discussing,” the president declared that the National Debate Forum on Marijuana Use, “permitted an informed, pluralistic and inclusive dialogue, in which all positions were heard with absolute respect and openness.”

President Peña Nieto said that as a result of this exercise of dialogue and debate, “We were able to identify five constant positions”:

FIRST: The need to address the issue of drugs in general and marijuana in particular, from a human rights perspective.

SECOND: Marijuana use must be addressed from a public health perspective. It is precisely with this conviction that we have gathered here today, at the historic site of the Ministry of Health.

THIRD: Addictions should be treated with integral prevention and therapeutic solutions without criminalizing users.

FOURTH: Actions must be reinforced to prevent drug use, including marijuana, especially campaigns targeting children and youth.

FIFTH: Access must be facilitated to controlled substances for therapeutic purposes and scientific research.

The president declared that, “The government is a democratic government that listens and appreciates the contributions of the society it serves.”

He explained that, “We therefore incorporated these recurring ideas into Mexico’s position, expressed during the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem.”

He said that in line with the official position, he signed the bill to reform the General Health Law and the Federal Penal Code, which will be submitted to the Senate today.

The president said that if approved in its terms, this initiative would:

ONE: Authorize the use of drugs made from marijuana and/or their active ingredients. 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 registration purposes for products containing marijuana and its active ingredients.”

THREE: “The bill proposes that possession for personal use of up to 28 grams of marijuana should not be considered a crime, in keeping with international standards. This means that use will no longer be criminalized. Increasing the amount allowed will also provide an opportunity to release users who are currently imprisoned, or on trial for having carried less than 28 grams of marijuana.”

President Peña Nieto said that this initiative is designed to prevent two kinds of injustice: “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, 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.”

The president declared that the reform he is proposing today, “Is a direct result of the proposals and ideas expressed at the National Debate Forums on Marijuana Use, and will be accompanied by, “a renewed institutional effort to prevent addiction, especially aimed at the protection of our children and youth.”

President Peña Nieto declared that, “The terms of the debate on drugs are undoubtedly changing in Mexico and the world,” and fortunately, a new global consensus is gradually emerging in favor of a reform of the international drug control regime.”

He considered that the Special Session of the United Nations World Drug Problem marked the beginning of this process, which is expected to be completed in 2019. “This is a new approach, driven by an increasing number of countries that will continue fighting criminals, but rather than criminalizing users, will offer them opportunities and alternatives,” he added.

He added that 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 it has worked and discard what has failed.

The aim is for consensus to continue to grow and be consolidated in the world.”

President Peña Nieto thanked everyone who made the National Debate on Marijuana Use possible. “Society and the scientific community expressed themselves. There was clear consensus that there are limitations to the current approach with which Mexico has addressed the issue of marijuana,” he said.

The president also thanked Raúl Elizalde, the father of Graciela Elizalde, who obtained special permission to use an experimental drug made from cannabidiol, a substance in marijuana that is not psychoactive.

”He really deserves our thanks because it represents a major benchmark in what we are proposing today,” he said.

THE MINISTRY OF HEALTH AND THE PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS COMPRISING THE SECTOR ARE READY TO ASSUME THEIR RESPONSIBILITY TO COPE WITH THE CHALLENGE: JOSÉ NARRO ROBLES

Dr. Jose Narro Robles said that the Ministry of Health and public institutions in the sector, “Are ready to assume their responsibility” regarding President Enrique Peña Nieto’s decision to give health a central role in the issue of drug use and demand reduction.

The head of the Ministry of Health announced that this department will implement efficient preventive programs, with coordination to improve the capacity to deliver health care to those who need it, with more effective, robust health regulations, but also with greater response capacity. In particular, he said, it will invite the participation of everyone who should be involved in the process.

At the end of the forums to discuss the issue of marijuana use, the Health Secretary pointed out that if the new model is approved, it would permit greater therapeutic possibilities, increased research and development, while putting an end to the criminalization and persecution of users. However, he said that the fight against criminal groups and addictions has not let up and that on the contrary, “We will embark on a more intense campaign to prevent the use and abuse of addictive substances.”

MEXICO HAS ASSUMED A NOTABLE POSITION OF ACTIVISM AND LEADERSHIP IN THE RESPONSIBLE, ETHICAL USE OF CANNABIS BY PLACING IT IN THE SERVICE OF HEALTH AND SCIENTIFIC INNOVATION: CONAGO

Governor of the state of Oaxaca and President of the National Conference of Governors (CONAGO) Gabino Cué Monteagudo said that through the position expressed by President Peña Nieto at the UN, “Mexico takes a firm, responsible stand in the search for a new international consensus to urge the society of nations to combat the risks associated with drug use, through a human rights and public health approach that will encourage prevention and abolish the criminalization of users.”

He said this is a new public policy model that strengthens prevention strategies to keep citizens, especially children and youth, free from the scourge of addiction.

He said that, “This is a new approach, which, without stopping the permanent fight against organized crime, will allow Mexico to explore the therapeutic benefits and scientific and industrial use of cannabis, as well as regulating the market.”

In this way, he said, “Mexico has assumed a notable position of activism and leadership in the responsible, ethical use of cannabis, by putting it at the service of health and scientific innovation, when for eight decades, its use has been the subject of stigma and social prejudice.”

TWENTY-TWO HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS PARTICIPATED IN THE FORUMS; ALL POSITIONS WERE DISCUSSED IN A PLURALISTIC, OPEN AND INCLUSIVE WAY: DEAN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF GUADALAJARA

Itzcóatl Tonatiuh Bravo Padilla, Dean of the University of Guadalajara, said that the forums organized by the government, which concluded today, and involved the participation of a large number of specialists, researchers, academics, health professionals and journalists as well as members of society, realize that Mexico is able to discuss and open up the public discussion of matters of common interest to society.

He thanked President Enrique Peña Nieto for gathering many of the views expressed at the forums and taking them to the United Nations Special Session on the World Drug Problem.

He told the president that his participation in that international summit, “Sent a message that means an important advance in the Mexican government’s position.”

He said that this should pave the way for the decriminalization and regulated legalization of marijuana, and added that the responsibility and specific contribution of universities to the correct approach to the problem and its solution should be to provide full information to society and integral training for youth, in addition to providing scientific research on its effects and consequences.

He said that, “The point is not to promote marijuana use.” In fact, universities should create a permanent awareness of any kind of addiction, involving both legal and illegal substances. The point is to say: No to having young people or adults who regularly or sporadically use cannabis treated as criminals.”

He said that 22 higher education institutions participated in the forums, at which all positions were discussed in a pluralistic, open and inclusive way.

TODAY WE HAVE COMPLETED A GREAT EXERCISE IN JUSTICE: RAÚL ELIZALDE

Raul Elizalde Garza, a speaker at the consultation forums and father of Graciela Elizalde said that, “Today we have completed a great exercise for justice," while applauding the message President Enrique Peña Nieto took to the United Nations.

“While this is not the end of the race, it is a very important step Mexico is taking with the world," he said.

He said that people had finally talked about prevention and control, rather than prohibition. "We are talking about research, medicines and therapeutic uses, instead of turning our backs on people who are suffering,” he said.

He noted that, “It is essential to have access to supplements, medicines and therapeutic remedies made from this plant, from cannabis. We need access to be swift, constant and safe.”

He said that, “Our daughter’s case has been a success. This plant has reduced the frequency and intensity of her crises by 80%. My daughter is a different person today from when she started treatment. This remedy has changed our lives. It has changed our lives as parents and, of course, my daughter’s.”

He confirmed that , “The plant she uses, the treatment, is not psychoactive. In some parts of the world, it is not even considered marijuana. It is called hemp or non-psychoactive cannabis. And this plant can change lives, not only my daughter's, but those of many people who are currently suffering.”