Public policies on the use of drugs in Mexico and Latin America

Recently, there has been a more profound political debate in Latin American countries around the possibilities of legal regulation and decriminalization of currently controlled drugs, particularly cannabis. This debate is a complex one that deals with a growing drug trade towards North America and Europe, as well as oversaturated judicial and health systems across Latin America.

Mexico’s role in the production and/or distribution of controlled drugs has been recognized for many years, but only recently has Mexico‚Äôs own problematic use of drugs, especially in the cities of the northern and southern borders, been raised as an issue. Drug policy in Mexico has a long history, which can only be understood in its political and economic contexts and its relations with the United States. Mexican drug policy is stipulated in several legal documents such as the Constitution, the General Health Law and specific Official Mexican Standards, amongst others. In these documents possession, use and sale of drugs are considered illegal, but in case of some drugs like cannabis, cocaine, opium, heroin, MDA, MDMA, Meth (crystal), and LSD, the maximum amount that an individual may possess for personal use is stipulated.

Currently, there are controversies in Mexico regarding exempting the use of certain drugs (especially cannabis) for medical indications as well as increasing the maximum amounts under which possession is deemed for personal use whilst reducing the penalty in case of personal use in small doses.

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