(Photo: Fernando Belaunzaran/Facebook)
Mexican Congressman Fernando Belaunzarán, in his formal suit and proper tie, doesn’t strike people as the kind of person who supports marijuana legalization. The truth is, he doesn’t just support it, he’s a hardcore champion of it.
On Thursday Belaunzaran will present Mexico’s Congress with a bill that would legalize the sale of marijuana - for recreational and health purposes - through distributors that obtain government permits. The proposal would also allow each Mexican citizen to grow up to five plants for personal consumption.
“The context has never been as favorable to rethink our drug strategy,” Balaunzaran told ABC/Univision. “We really should bet on a responsible use of private liberty instead of going on with repression.”
I almost closed the article with a big sigh of ‘fat chance’, but the last paragraph caught my eye:
Congressman Belaunzarán is well aware that his bill might not make it through parliamentary debate. However, he still thinks the problem should be put to discussion again and again in Mexico and in Latin America. “Mexico must be part of this change of paradigm, with serious arguments, based on science” he said.
Emphasis added, because I believe that policy should be based on science all the time. Being anti-abortion ignores the science of conception and contraception, for instance. Climate change is the most obvious example of science being needed in policy decisions.
We have a newly elected US Congressman who also believes marijuana should be legalized, Beto O’Rourke of El Paso Texas. He beat an incumbent Democrat in the primary, and handily beat the Republican in the general. He co-wrote a short and excellent book that advocates for legalization: Dealing Death and Drugs: The Big Business of Dope in the U.S. and Mexico.
I wish both men all the best.