Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced that the government is studying what to do with local opium poppy farmers and said that they are looking into legalizing its cultivation.
Lopez Obrador explained that opium poppy growers have lost their livelihoods after drug traffickers have shifted to fentanyl from Asia.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration recently reported that poppy and heroin production in Mexico both declined in 2019 after fentanyl use in the United States increased.
Alternative livelihoods for the farmers have also been suggested but those too are still being researched.
Legal opium production has been suggested for Mexico since 2018 but no legislation was made.
“As far as commercializing marijuana and opium poppies, the decision has been made to undertake a thorough study of these crops,” said López Obrador.
Legalizing opium poppy cultivation could give the country’s farmers a more legitimate and stable livelihood due to the demand for medical opioids.
“We are in the stage of analysis and reflection about what will most benefit Mexico. There are now unparalleled conditions to do what most benefits Mexico and our people because the current government is completely free, it is not subordinated to any foreign government,” added López Obrador.
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