A group of leading Mexican intellectuals, celebrities and political figures issued an open letter on September 25 that was published as a paid ad in national newspapers, calling on the government to decriminalize cannabis as a means to reduce drug war violence.
"Mexico has paid a high cost for applying the punitive policy of prohibition," the letter read. "We know well that neither decriminalization nor any other individual measure represents a panacea to end the violence, corruption and lawlessness in Mexico. But effective decriminalization of marijuana consumption by raising the dose permitted for personal use is a step in the right direction." (Mexico passed a limited decriminalization measure in 2009.) The letter also favorably noted Uruguay's recent move to legalize possession and cultivation of cannabis under state regulation.
Signatories included TV star Diana Bracho, movie producer Guillermo Arriaga, TV Azteca tycoon Ricardo Salinas Pliego and Nobel-winning scientist Mario Molina. Political figures who signed on included Fernando Gómez Mont, who served as government secretary under the administration of president Felipe Calderón; former exterior secretary Jorge G. Castañeda; and Calderón's brother-in-law, Juan Ignacio Zavala. These establishment figures joined with Javier Sicilia, the poet-activist who has long campaigned for demilitarization of Mexico's drug war.
Mexico City's council -- officially the Federal District Legislative Assembly -- is currently considering a bill that would legalize personal cultivation of cannabis and allow private smoking "clubs" run on a non-profit basis. The measure has wide support in the city's ruling center-left Democratic Revolution Party (PRD), but is opposed by President Enrique Peña Nieto.