MEXICO CITY: Mexico's president indicated Monday that his administration could drop its opposition to legalizing marijuana depending on results of an upcoming debate of experts on the matter.
Five days after the Supreme Court authorized four people to grow their own pot for consumption, President Enrique Pena Nieto said he would convene medical experts, sociologists, academics and civil society to debate the issue.
"I have always said that I, personally, am not in favor of an eventual legalization of marijuana," Pena Nieto said during a security forum, warning that cannabis could lead to the consumption of harder drugs.
"However, I can't be the sole owner of the truth.
"I am open, and I will remain open as president, to collecting documented, scientifically proven positions that could eventually lead to a different position," he added.
If that were to be the case, the president said, the government and the Congress would have to come up with "convenient and prudent legislation" to regulate marijuana.
The leftist opposition Democratic Revolution Party has called on Congress to begin debating such legislation.
The top court's landmark November 4 ruling, though limited to just four people, raised hope against supporters of marijuana legalization that Mexico would drop its ban.
Four more similar rulings by the Supreme Court would set a legal precedent to change the law.
The four members of the Mexican Society for Responsible and Tolerant Personal Use, or SMART, who won the court ruling said their goal is to force Congress to legislate.
The group says legalizing pot would dry up a major source of revenue for drug cartels, leading to a reduction in the gang turf wars that have killed tens of thousands of people.
While Mexico's government has opposed the legalization of drugs, health authorities granted an exception last month for an eight-year-old girl suffering from severe epilepsy.
The girl, Grace, took her first treatment of a cannabis-based oil last month, which her parents hope will reduce the 400 epileptic fits she endures each day.