Legalization of marijuana – and consequent regulation – has received the cautious support of Jalisco’s minister of health, Alfonso Petersen Farah, who inserted several caveats into his address last Tuesday to the Political Science Alumni Association of ITESO, Guadalajara’s private Jesuit university.
“Marijuana isn’t an innocuous drug, we need to be clear about that,” said Petersen, who opined that marijuana can cause problems in the social sphere as well as pose risks to physical safety. “But neither is it lethal.”
However, Petersen isn’t advocating for recreational drug use, which he claims can lead to addiction, but rather for its use in treating a variety of physical maladies.
“The use of medical marijuana, like many other medicinal plants, should be a fundamental right related to one’s health,” stated Petersen, adding that many drugs currently prescribed legally do far more damage than marijuana.
While marijuana’s addictive qualities are in constant dispute, the State of Jalisco’s health department claims – one might say outrageously – that the drug is 113-percent more addictive than alcohol. Meanwhile, the non-profit Centros de Integracion Juvenil, which operates under the aegis of the health department, says that marijuana addiction is the primary reason adolescents enter into drug treatment facilities in Jalisco. Whether or not these minors are entering of their own volition or that of thier parents – who may believe marijuana to be a drug as perilous to one’s health as crack or heroin – is unknown.