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The legalization of marijuana in Mexico on political agenda

Mexico City, Mexico — Mexico’s Secretary of Tourism says it is necessary to legalize the use of marijuana to combat security, adding that it is a major topic in the upcoming July 1 elections.

The Secretary of Tourism of Mexico, Enrique de la Madrid, has returned to the topic, insisting that the country legalize marijuana, noting that each state should make its own decision.

It is the second time in which the minister delves into the issue in the middle of the electoral campaign. In January, he proposed to regularize consumption to stop the rampant violence in Baja California Sur and Quintana Roo, a pronouncement that generated huge controversy between the Mexican political class and society.

“I think that in Mexico we should move toward a regulation at the state level,” he said in an interview with Reuters in which he adds that he does not think it “logical” to use funds to persecute consumers of this substance when they should be used to combat kidnapping, rape or murder.

“Maintaining marijuana in illegality is giving money to drug traffickers,” he says. “And with that money what these gentlemen do is that they bribe more police, buy more weapons and are more violent,” the senior official says.

De la Madrid says, “If you want to kill criminal groups you have to weaken them,” by eliminating their sources of financial income.

“One of the ways is to legalize drug use. Some say it is not true. Yes it is true, it is logical,” he insisted.

Enrique de la Madrid said that to combat insecurity in tourist sites, it is necessary to regulate the use of drugs such as marijuana and strengthen police forces.

The legalization of marijuana has become one of the star themes of the upcoming presidential elections. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has always maintained that Mexico and the United States should not pursue divergent policies in this matter.

Many security experts question whether the increase in violence is related specifically to marijuana trafficking, where tourist hot spots such as Los Cabos and Cancun both saw deaths increase last year.