Why Mexico’s New President Wants to Legalize Marijuana and End the War on Drugs

Why Mexico’s New President Wants to Legalize Marijuana and End the War on Drugs
A young man smokes marijuana to celebrate the International Day for Cannabis in Mexico City, April 20, 2018 (AP photo by Eduardo Verdugo).

Editor’s Note: This article is part of an ongoing series about national drug policies in various countries around the world.

The incoming administration of Mexico’s left-leaning president-elect, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, has proposed legalizing the possession and recreational use of small amounts of marijuana, building on a string of recent decisions by the Mexican Supreme Court that found the drug’s prohibition to be unconstitutional. Legislation to regulate the production and commercial distribution of cannabis has been submitted to the Mexican Congress and a referendum on the issue is expected within the next three years. In an interview with WPR, David Shirk, a political scientist at the University of San Diego who specializes in rule of law and security issues in Mexico, discusses the road to cannabis legalization and what to expect from the new president’s drug policy.

World Politics Review: How has Mexico’s approach to drug policy evolved in recent years, and how much of a departure would cannabis legalization represent from its current stance on this issue?

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