Mexico Congress receives initiative to legalize opium poppy

The reform initiative seeks to legalize the production of opium poppy for medicinal purposes
Mexico Congress receives initiative to legalize opium poppy
Legislators from Guerrero have argued that the reform’s approval by the Congress of Union is feasible in the framework of international legislation - Photo: Salvador Cisneros Silva/EL UNIVERSAL
23/08/2018
19:00
Juan Arvizu
Mexico City
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The Guerrero State Congress sent a reform initiative to the parliamentary committee with the purpose of legalizing the growth and production of opium poppy for scientific and medicinal purposes.

The proposition to legalize the poppy has gathered momentum due to an increase in violence in the state of Guerrero. The massacre of Iguala, in which 43 students from the Normal Rural School of Ayotzinapa disappeared is an example of this, since it is thought that the students fell victims to an organized crime group that controls the poppy market, from which substances such as morphine are obtained.

Legislators from Guerrero have argued that the reform’s approval by the Congress of Union is feasible in the framework of international legislation. It would set the ground for the legal growth and production of raw materials which, in turn, could lead to the incursion of local farmers into the pharmaceutical market space through the production of the Papaver Somniferum plant, as well as its derivatives.

This initiative proposes additions and modifications to the General Health Law, the Federal Criminal Code, and the National Code of Criminal Procedure.
 

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One of the reform initiative’s main proposals is the creation of article 236 from the General Health Law, which states that “the Ministry of Health will set all standards to be met and issue special permits for the acquisition and divestment of the Papaver Somníferum (poppy) for its culture, production, trade, and trafficking.”

In the explanatory memoranda to their proposals, the Guerrero State Congress claimed that “The Government’s prohibition policy on the use of drugs, after more than a half century, has failed to undermine its illegal offer and demand. Instead it has brought additional consequences such as the restriction of opiate medications, which are used as painkillers in cases where the patient’s pain exceeds the effect threshold of traditional painkillers.”

They explained that the additions and modifications would seek to “promote access to opiate medications that delover on the country’s increasing demand, and to subvert the illegal poppy market.”

They proposed to regulate the cultivation and production of the opium poppy for medical purposes as well as scientific research. Said legislation could represent both social and economic benefits in the state of Guerrero.

“It is estimated that agriculturists harvesting it could render considerable tax revenues and generate formal employment options for the people.”

Furthermore, “we expect a reduction in criminal groups trafficking opium poppy, which would reduce violence among producers and traders.”

Bureau members of the parliamentary committee agreed to pass the initiative to the Health and Justice commissions in the Senate.
 

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