Mexico Marches Closer To Federal Cannabis Legalization

Mexico Will Become The Largest Cannabis Market In The World Mexico.


When it comes to cannabis, the majority of the world’s focus has been on Canada in recent times. There’s a good reason for that: Canada became the first G7 nation to legalize cannabis for adult-use purposes in 2018. 

Recently, the focus has shifted to the U.S. market, as many more states have legalized cannabis for both medical and adult-use purposes. 

Is This About To Change?

Perhaps some of this attention should have turned to the south: Mexico is now on track to legalize cannabis for adult use purposes! 

Mexico’s population currently stands at over 126 million people, which would make it the largest cannabis market in the world by population.

Each day, we interview cannabis industry leaders from around the 🌎 and break down the most important news in the cannabis industry.

What Stands In the Way?

Last Thursday, Mexico’s Senate passed a bill that would legalize cannabis for adult-use purposes.

The vote had a very comfortable margin of victory, with eighty-two lawmakers voting in favor of legalization and just 18 against. 

For this bill to become law, it must now be approved by the lower house of the Mexican legislature, and receive the signature of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

“This bill is part of carrying out a revolution of consciences, where each of us is responsible for his actions.” - President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

(📸 / President Andrés)

Both of these events are expected to occur before a December 15 deadline set by the Supreme Court in 2018, which ruled that the prohibition on possessing and growing cannabis is unconstitutional.

What’s Interesting About This Bill?

Besides creating the world’s largest legal cannabis market, a number of other items stand out for me:

1. The bill has very few critics - I grew up in an extremely regional part of Ireland, so anytime the Catholic Church is one of your only opponents, you can nearly take for granted that you're doing the right thing.

The Archdiocese of Mexico said in a statement on Sunday that the lower house of Congress should modify the existing bill to “emphasize health and public safety.”

2. Grow your own - The bill has many similarities to the regulatory framework  rolled out here in Canada in 2018, as it would allow all Mexicans over the age of 18 to possess up to 28 grams of cannabis, in addition to being able to grow six plants at home.

(📸 / Green Growing)

3. Clearing past convictions - Although the bill definitely doesn’t go as far as I personally think it needs to go in rectifying the wrongs of prohibition, it does promise to clear the criminal records of people with past cannabis convictions within six months of signing. That’s a great starting point!

4. No public consumption of cannabis - When the prohibition of alcohol ended in 1933, there was a great deal of concern about the dangers of alcohol (much like there is about cannabis today). One thing that legislators got right back then, however, was to issue licences that provided for consumption in designated spaces—aka bars. 

Personally, I think this is one of the biggest missed opportunities here in Canada, and unfortunately, it seems that Mexico has decided to repeat this mistake by not permitting consumption in cannabis lounges.

5. Zero interest in monopolies - Although the bill will allow for the vertical integration of the cannabis business, it states that for the first five years after implementation at least 40% of cannabis business licenses must be granted to those from indigenous, low-income, or historically marginalized communities—something I’m a huge fan of. 

What Happens Next?

The current deadline to legalize cannabis is approaching on December 15.

With the current progress being made to advance the bill that will facilitate this transition to legality, Mexico is fast on track to becoming the biggest and one of the most exciting cannabis markets in the world in 2021.

When this happens, much of the attention that Canada is currently receiving will very likely shift towards Mexico and other Latin American nations, as we can almost take for granted that other nations will be seeking to emulate the progressive policies Mexico is putting in place.

As the dominoes continue to fall, which nations will be next?

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