The Mexican Marijuana Legalization Update
A Top Mexican Official announced that they will be taking up the issue of legalization again in the next session.
This comes as welcoming news to an industry that went into a virtual standstill after the Supreme Court ruled cannabis prohibition unconstitutional.
Mexico is the country with the largest adult population to date with legal cannabis, however – without a regulated market the entire country is in a legal limbo.
There were plenty of factors at play that created this situation, from lawmakers simply stalling to advocates winning Supreme Court Cases, which prompted a legal maneuver written into the constitution.
Mexican legalization is playing out like a Telenovela and is certainly one of the more weirder ways you’d like to legalize.
In this article we’ll be talking a bit about what has happened, what the Mexican Official actually said about the next session and the future of cannabis in Mexico.
How did we get here?
Unlike many other places around the world that legalized cannabis – Mexico followed a different route. In the Mexican constitution, there is a clause that essentially can create constitutional amendments if the Supreme Court rules in favor of anything particular five times.
Advocates then took cannabis related issues to the Supreme Court and won five times, arguing that cannabis prohibition infringes on their “right to express their personality” – a clause protected under the Mexican Constitution.
The Supreme Court Agreed and with this act, the Senate and members of Congress had to flesh out the rules of legalization.
However, lawmakers stalled and couldn’t reach agreements which made them miss the court mandated due dates upon three separate occasions. In April of 2021, the court then ruled that the prohibition of cannabis is unconstitutional.
This made cannabis essentially “legal” under the law, but the legislative codes of law enforcement wasn’t updated – meaning that while no one could be charged with cannabis related crimes (for personal consumption), they were still able to be arrested.
If you know anything about the corruption within Mexican Law Enforcement, you would understand why activists were eager to have the lawmakers pass “something”.
Nonetheless, this did not happen and now it seems that there may be a hint that in the Next Judicial Session – they will be able to take up these issues again.
What was announced?
Sen. Julio Ramón Menchaca Salazar – of the Morena party- tweeted out that there will be discussions on formalizing the industry in the next session.
“The ideal is to finish the legislative process—to be able to have, without the pressure of time, the possibility of retaking this opinion, taking the good that was done in the Chamber of Deputies, because some modifications were correct,” Menchaca, who chairs the Senate Justice Committee, said.
What he is referring to here is that once the Senate passed a version of the law, they sent it off the lower chamber of Deputies who then also made amendments.
When the bill was sent back the senate found some issues that could leave lawmakers liable in its current form.
However, some of the issues that were included in the revised bill by the Lower Chamber of Deputies did make sense – which is what lawmakers will be discussing in the next session.
This also gives advocates a bit more time to lobby and help shape the law more according to what they deem “Socially responsible”.
However, if there’s one thing I have seen over the past few years of following this story is that Mexican Lawmakers don’t really care too much about the average consumer. You have to understand that this will be about INDUSTRY.
Mexico stands to be a power house in cannabis cultivation and can bring in a lot of foreign investment, but they also need to balance the cultural elements of rural communities. Therefore there are a lot of areas that need to be addressed in order for the industry to work.
This will also not be how the law will eventually look – many lawmakers expect amendments to occur on this law until it finds a solid middle ground, however, for the industry to be activated there needs to be some legislative processes concluded.
What happens now?
Right now, during the next legislative session the lawmakers will be tinkering on the plan until they feel it’s ready for a vote. President Andres Manual Lopez Obrador already said he’d sign the law once it’s ready – meaning that there is no resistance from the highest office.
Depending on how efficient lawmakers are and how much pressure commercial cannabis brands place on them – we could see some form of legal cannabis scheme implemented by year’s end.
What this would mean is that in 2022, there will be a massive expansion of cannabis-related operations in Mexico. If the vertical integration elements remain intact, major brands could invest millions into the Mexican market – which allows cannabis consumption at the age of 18.
Mexico and the future of cannabis
While the process of Mexico getting into the cannabis industry has been a strange one, you cannot deny the powerhouse potential of Mexico as a major cannabis player.
Firstly, Mexico already has a lot of cannabis farmland available which would simply be repurposed for the industry. Narcos will be creating legal businesses to export hemp and cannabis products.
Secondly, Mexico has a cheap labor force that competes with the likes of China and India. While slightly more expensive – when you factor in shipping costs, the cost-benefit of importing Mexican hemp and Mexican cannabis becomes more appealing.
The United States will probably have some sort of cannabis legislation on the books over the next few years – especially since the Biden Administration intends to do nothing with cannabis legalization.
Mexico has weather conditions that provide longer seasons and perennial growing – which means when places like Canada needs to go indoor for their winter season, places like Puebla, Queretaro and surrounding areas can continue to harvest yearlong.
Mexico going online will impact prices in the US, drive down costs and boost the entire global cannabis trade.
This is one of the main reasons I keep on watching this telenovela!