By Tim Sultan
November 12, 2018
Mexico’s incoming government just introduced a bill legalizing both medical and recreational cannabis across the country.
Less than two weeks ago, on Oct 31st, Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled that the country’s current laws prohibiting marijuana use, cultivation and sale are unconstitutional. The Supreme Court then issued its official notice to the legislature to reform their unconstitutional drug policy.
In response, Senator Olga Sanchez Cordero, a longtime advocate of legalization, submitted a bill on Nov. 8th that would permit Adult-Use cannabis throughout the country. Senator Olga Sanchez Cordero is a former justice and was picked by the incoming President to be his Interior Minister, a powerful position in Mexico. On Dec 1st, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) will take office, commanding an enviable mandate from the people following a landslide victory for his Morena Party, winning control of the Presidency and both Houses of Congress.
In her 26-page bill posted on the Congressional website, Sen. Sánchez wrote that Mexico’s cannabis prohibition has contributed to crime and violence, adding that in the 12 years since Mexico launched its war on drugs, 235,000 people have been killed. And according to the Instituto Nacional de Geografia y Estadistica (INEGI) there were 21,857 homicides recorded, that were attributed to the drug war, in just the first eight (8) months of 2018 in Mexico. That’s 2,732 drug killings per month.
“Today, the nation decided to change,” she told senators. “We don’t want more deaths. This will be a major contribution to bringing peace to our beloved country.”
In March 2018, when Mexico’s President Vicente Fox (2000-2006) came to Arizona, he spoke of legalizing the marijuana plant to end violence from Mexico’s drug cartels. Two months later, Fox held the CannaMexico World Summit at his Presidential Library in Guanajuato, Mexico. At that Summit, Mexico’s government officials listened closely to leaders in the global cannabis industry and learned from mistakes and successes that other countries have made in regulating this industry. Mexico has developed a keen understanding of the nuances of this industry and is expected to be one of the most attractive markets for new customers and for low-cost production. Imagine all the knowledge of the global cannabis community turned loose on Mexico’s fertile ground, with government protection and a low cost of production to farm marijuana and hemp. The permission to operate in Mexico’s cannabis space is regulated by CofePris. No doubt, forward-thinking cannabis professionals who obtain the first cultivation licenses from CofePris will have a massive advantage.
In 2016, the government began granting permits for some patients to import medicinal marijuana products. It has also decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana (about 5 grams) and issued several permits for people to cultivate and possess MMJ for personal use.
As Mexico’s President-Elect creates this new economic engine for his country’s farmers, distributors and retailers, in a few short months, Mexico could be the new Wild West for cannabis entrepreneurs.