High-profile Mexican attorneys, actors, writers and other luminaries urge marijuana legalization


Over the last six years, more than 80,000 Mexicans have been killed due to excessive drug violence in their country – in part due to the marijuana trade. Legalizing marijuana would help curb that violence and help repair a country that has been torn apart in places by drug cartels and the criminalization of marijuana consumers.
That’s the message from 67 high-profile Mexican businessmen, ministers, artists, attorneys and even a Nobel Prize-winning scientists delivered Wednesday in a paid petition in several newspapers across the country.

The petition, signed by was signed by actors Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna, writers Angeles Mastretta, Juan Villoro and Javier Sicilia, attorneys Fernando Gomez Mont and Agustin Acosta, and former Health Secretary Julio Frenk, among others, says that 60 percent of Mexico’s prison population is in jail for drug offenses. About 59 percent of those drug offenses are for marijuana.
The signers also point out that marijuana money helps fuel the organizations.
“This exorbitant income is used to purchase weapons, pay hitmen, and bribe public officials. Decriminalization would reduce that income, which is not replaceable by other organized crime activities (kidnapping, extortion and robbery),” they write. “Mexico has paid a high price for applying the punitive policy of prohibition.”
The group says that legalization or decriminalization won’t completely fix the problem, but say it’s a sensible place to start. Mexico has already decriminalized up to five grams of cannabis for personal use as well as small amounts of other drugs like cocaine, meth and LSD.
“Neither decriminalization nor any other individual measure is a panacea that will do away with violence, corruption and insecurity”, they say. But legalizing cannabis would be “a step in the right direction”.
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto remains opposed to relaxing drug laws in his country, however there is a growing contingency of Mexican lawmakers growing on the idea of legalizing certain amounts cannabis for personal use.
Back in June we reported on a group of lawmakers planning to legalize up to 25 grams of cannabis as well as allow for cannabis clubs and collectives to form for people to cultivate and smoke cannabis with others. At the time, lawmakers said they hoped to have the bill finished by the end of September.