Mexico launches Web site ahead of marijuana debates

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notsofasteddie
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Mexico launches Web site ahead of marijuana debates

Post by notsofasteddie » Fri 15th Jan 2016 12:23 am

Mexico launches Web site ahead of marijuana debates

EFE
Published January 13, 2016

Mexico's government has launched a Web site with information aimed at facilitating a series of public debates on marijuana use, the first of which will be held on Jan. 26 in the Caribbean resort city of Cancun and focus on public health and prevention.

The site, which seeks to promote a "broad and inclusive" discussion, was presented Tuesday at a press conference by Mexico's deputy human rights secretary, Roberto Campa.

In keeping with the goal of designing new public policy through the debates, the Web site will provide the public with information about relevant domestic and international legislation.

The Web site will include links to information about marijuana legislation in 14 countries and three U.S. states, as well as academic research and articles on regulation, public health, public safety, marijuana consumption, medicinal use of the drug, human rights, the prison system and economic development.

It also contains hard data regarding marijuana use in Mexico and indicators on risky behavior related to the use of the drug. All of the information will be public, Campa said.

A total of 15 Mexican and foreign experts have thus far confirmed their participation in the forum in Cancun, the deputy secretary said.

The second forum will take place on Feb. 23 and focus on ethics and human rights, while the third will be held March 8 and address economic and regulatory aspects and the fourth is scheduled for March 22 and will examine public safety concerns.

The fifth and final debate, to be held on April 5 in Mexico City, will analyze all the topics addressed at the previous gatherings.

President Enrique Peña Nieto, who opposes marijuana legalization, called for the debates after Mexico's Supreme Court ruled in November that a section of the country's General Health Law banning people from growing and using the drug for recreational purposes was unconstitutional.

For the time being, however, the ruling only applies to the four plaintiffs in that case. EFE


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Re: Mexico launches Web site ahead of marijuana debates

Post by notsofasteddie » Thu 28th Jan 2016 10:37 pm

Mexico is having the grown-up conversation about marijuana that every country should have


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Mexico is getting serious about marijuana legalization. (Reuters/Tomas Bravo)


Written by Ana Campoy
January 27, 2016

Mexican lawmakers this week launched a national debate on a topic that officials around the world have been struggling to address: marijuana legalization.

Over the next three weeks, the Mexican Congress is holding a series of public hearings (link in Spanish) on whether and how to regulate marijuana. The discussions will range from nitty-gritty—how should marijuana’s potency be classified?—to broad issues such as the effects of marijuana prohibition on public safety.

If not outright legalization, the exercise is likely to result in policy changes, such as regulating medicinal pot and lifting the maximum amount of the drug that users can carry without facing jail time, Alejandro Madrazo, a professor at research university CIDE, tells Quartz. (The current limit is five grams, or less than a quarter ounce.)

The debate is taking place ahead of a special United Nations summit on drug policy, UNGASS 2016, the first of its kind in nearly two decades. The April conference was called for by the presidents of Mexico, Colombia and Guatemala, all countries battered by the drug trade. Marijuana legalization will likely be a topic of discussion, says Hannah Hetzer, Americas policy manager at the Drug Policy Alliance, a NY-based group that advocates for the decriminalization of drug use.

“It’s responsible and it’s necessary,”she tells Quartz of Mexico’s government-led pot debate. “Worldwide it is a topic that is gaining attention.”

Legalizing marijuana is hardly a revolutionary trend. The drug’s consumption has been sanctioned in places like Holland and Catalonia (pdf, page 6) for more than two decades. Uruguay and four US states, as well as the District of Colombia, have also legalized recreational marijuana.

Still, many politicians remain reluctant to confront the issue. In the US, for example, the federal government has been addressing legalization in a piecemeal fashion, and largely in response to state laws, experts say.

Mexican officials were forced into the conversation after an unprecedented Supreme Court ruling last November, which declared the recreational use of marijuana a personal freedom and the laws prohibiting it unconstitutional.

“If they didn’t respond, the country would have become schizophrenic,” says Armando Santacruz, a member of the Society for Responsible and Tolerant Personal Consumption (or SMART in Spanish,) the marijuana club that filed the case that elicited the court’s decision.

Mexico’s departments of interior and health are organizing their own public assemblies (Spanish) on pot, which started Jan. 26 in Cancun, and will be held in four other cities over the next three months. Anyone with an opinion is invited to participate.

But some say those debates are more charade than real discussion, given that President Enrique Peña Nieto, who called for them, has already said he’s not in favor of legalization. A group of influential academics and other proponents of liberalizing Mexico’s drug laws, including SMART and Madrazo, have refused to participate (Spanish,) saying in a letter to the president that they are worried the forum is an excuse to delay acting on what the Supreme Court already ruled.


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