MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico’s tourism secretary suggested that legalizing marijuana could help reduce drug violence at big tourist resorts but later said he wasn’t speaking in an official capacity when he made the comment.
Tourism Secretary Enrique de la Madrid said Thursday that legalizing pot could help reduce violence in states like Baja California Sur, which is home to the twin resorts of Los Cabos and has Mexico’s second-highest murder rate, and Quintana Roo, where the resort of Cancun is located. Cancun, while relatively quiet, has had outbursts of shootings, some related to a struggle by the Jalisco New Generation cartel to move in to the city.
However, late Thursday, De la Madrid issued a Tweet saying “I want to emphatically say that my opinion on legalizing marijuana was a personal comment.”
In fact, marijuana, like almost all drugs, is regulated by federal law in Mexico, and so it is highly unlikely any states could get exemptions.
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Security analyst Alejandro Hope wrote in a column in the newspaper El Universal Friday that “when the law enforcement agenda is being set by the tourism secretary, something is not working. Seriously.”