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    Members of the 'Peace Caravan with Justice and Dignity' gather in Tucson, Arizona, USA, Aug. 16, 2012. | Photo: EFE

Published 15 March 2019

"All drugs harm, they all represent a risk to health, but not all carry the same toxicity," said Juan Ramon de la Fuente, Mexico representative to the U.N.

Juan Ramon de la Fuente, Mexico's new permanent resident to the United Nations (U.N.), defended a "regulatory framework" for certain narcotics as the "prohibitionist" policy implemented in the country so far has repeatedly failed.

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De la Fuente, who is heading the Mexican delegation in the Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna (Austria's capital), highlighted that with the arrival of progressive president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO), to the Mexican presidency, certain public policies will change, including those associated with anti-drug initiatives.

"All drugs harm, they all represent health risk, but not all carry the same toxicity," said the Mexican representative, stressing that regulation only targets less harmful substances, like cannabis. This does not mean complete deregulation on drugs.

Narcotic production and illegal trafficking are the root of many problems faced by Mexico and its government, such as insecurity, violence, and corruption, De la Fuente said. "Carefully" and "within the framework of the conventions," the new government of Mexico is going to try to make adjustments in aspects that have not been working well.

The Mexican representative was quick to note that the initiative won't eliminate Mexico's drug industry.

"This does not mean, and we must emphasize, that what's being proposed is an absolute liberalization and permissiveness; it is about looking for one of the drugs with a more adequate regulatory framework than we currently have," he said.

This will be a new policy direction that the AMLO government will investigate, however, the final legislative framework will be left for the Mexican Congress to construct. De la Fuente remains opptomistic, assuring that "given the current environment" the reality of these reforms "not so far into the future."

The new proposal is in line with the Mexican government plans to engage the narcotics issue as a public health problem, and not as a security problem. De la Fuente points out that until now "almost all the effort and almost all the money has gone exclusively to the punitive and prohibitionist sphere."

He concluded that "(the government and society) have two options: pretend that things are going well, when they are not going well (...) or make innovative proposals that help us get out of this path that has not yielded good results."

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