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Opium, the New Legal Drug in Mexico?

In an effort to control the cartel violence around drug trafficking, Mexico is contemplating making the production of opium legal for medicinal purposes. No joke.

“Let’s do some sort of pilot scheme, provided it’s used for medical issues,” said Hector Astudillo, governor of Guerrero, one of the most violent states in Mexico, told Milenio television. “It’s a way out that could get us away from the violence there has been in Guerrero.” Astudillo has not given any details of the plan.

How dangerous is the Guerro? One example is the disappearance of 43 teacher trainees in 2014. The Mexican government has said that the young teachers were victims of drug cartels who had the support of corrupt government officials and cops.

The argument for making the production of opium legal is the possibility it can lessen the stronghold drug cartels have on local farmers and reduce the extreme competition in the country for the American drug market.

It’s not the first drug to be considered for legalization. Mexico is currently reviewing its policy on marijuana after the Supreme Court gave an advocacy group the right to produce it for medicinal purposes. If the production of opium is legalized, it can be used to make painkillers like morphine. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, however, is acting cautiously towards legalizing opium.

Get more details on the legalization of opium from Reuters report here.

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