Mexico's weed laws

Published Jan 25, 2019 05:01 p.m. ET

Did Mexico legalize weed?

 While Mexico has been a popular tourist destination for decades, most people know things can get a little less appealing when traveling outside of the walls and gates of the five-star resorts you so often see in the media. For others who have lived there or experienced it first hand, for them thinking about Mexico recalls notorious drug cartels that have been exacerbating the already high crime and poverty rates across the country. There is a bright spot in however, it appears Mexico is next in line to join Canada, Uruguay, and several US states in the wave of marijuana legalization.

What does the new bill include?

A new bill has been brought forth by Senator Mexico Sanchez’s hand-selected president-elect Andres Manuel Lopez who officially takes office on the first of December in 2018. If passed, Sanchez’s bill would allow the commercialization and recreational use of marijuana. While Mexico has already legalized the use of marijuana for medicinal use and began issuing permits to a select few residents starting in 2016, this bill will include legalizing not only recreational use but also personal possession. It will also allow growing up to 20 cannabis plants on any private property and production of up to seventeen ounces or four hundred and eighty grams per calendar year. Smoking marijuana in public would also be allowed. Unfortunately, at least for now edibles infused with cannabis will still be illegal.

Will the bill pass Mexico's Two-House Congress?

This bill could face some challenges with the Mexico Senate being a slow process, requiring approval from three different committees before it can even be voted on. It could be next year before we get to see a vote. The National Regeneration Movement aka Morena does currently hold the majority in both houses, but it will face stiff opposition from the conservative party which has remained vigorously opposed to most socially progressive policies brought forth since gaining seats.

Why now?

Violence in Mexico over recent years has grown by unprecedented levels. With the country seeing more than 31 000 deaths by murder so far in 2018. This is the highest number it has ever seen since the government began record keeping. The bill is part of a twelve-year-long battle to crack down on violent drug cartels to bring down crime rates and violence mostly attributed to the illegal drug trade that has flourished there. Right now, Mexico is the number one supplier of illegalmarijuana to the United States and supplies everything from cocaine, and other synthetic drugs to heroin. Since 2006 Mexico has been using mainly military force which seems to have forced the cartels to split into smaller groups forcing more violence as each gang fights over territory. Their efforts have made no progress thus far in eliminating them. The hope is that legalization will force many of them of out of business, making the streets safer for all its residents.

Has anything changed yet?

As of now marijuana use, possession and consumption for anything other than permitted medical use is still illegal in Mexico and will be until a bill is passed by Congress to change it. It appears Mexico has a long slow road ahead of it, but with the support of legalization by its residents soaring in recent years it certainly looks like it’s well on its way to full legalization within the next three years.

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