MEXICO CITY - Two-thirds of Mexicans are against decriminalizing marijuana, according to an opinion poll published on Tuesday, just days after a Supreme Court ruling that opened the door to an eventual legalization.
Some 66 percent of people polled in the telephone survey by El Universal newspaper opposed the legalizing the drug. But 63 percent said they backed a wide-ranging debate on marijuana legislation in Mexico, which has suffered a decade of vicious drug violence that has killed tens of thousands.
Last week, Mexico's Supreme Court ruled to allow four plaintiffs to grow and smoke pot recreationally in a decision that could open the door to legalization.
However, even if it comes, any legalization is still likely years away. It would take four more consecutive decisions of the same kind, or eight of the 11 permanent justices to agree, for the Mexican Supreme Court's ruling to set an official precedent and force the government to review the law.
On Monday, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said he was not personally in favor of legalization as he believed it could lead people to taking harder drugs. However, he asked the Interior Ministry to bring together specialists, including academics, doctors and sociologists, to debate the future of weed regulation.
El Universal's poll was the first nationwide survey on the debate published in a major newspaper since the Supreme Court decision, and was conducted between Nov. 6-7.
El Universal said it had interviewed 1,000 people, and that the poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percent.
Well over 100,000 people have died in drug-related violence in Mexico since 2007. Some people think marijuana legalization in Mexico and the United States could eventually lead cartels to stop selling the drug.