Mexico may take over the legalization marijuana
Mexico’s parliament is preparing to pass a law permitting the production and use of marijuana for recreational purposes. It will make the largest legal cannabis market in the world for the country. Authorities expect the new legislation to undermine drug cartels, but experts doubt it.
Mexico is preparing to legalize recreational marijuana production and use it to fight powerful drug cartels and enhance civil liberties. The legislative changes would make Mexico the third country in the world to legalize marijuana, after Uruguay and Canada, and the largest market with a potential 88 million consumers.
In late November, the Senate, Mexico’s upper house of Congress, approved a bill authorizing the cultivation, distribution, and consumption of marijuana for recreational purposes. The second chamber, the Chamber of Deputies, was scheduled to vote on Dec. 15 but postponed discussion until February. Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador explained it as “a matter of form.” “There is no objection to the Senate-approved authorization to use a limited amount of marijuana for medical purposes. But there are errors and inaccuracies in quantities, etc. There can be no contradictions in the same law.”
The bill, approved by senators, allows citizens to possess up to 28 grams of marijuana and grow up to eight plants per family. Possession of more than 28 grams would be punishable by a fine, and possession of 200 grams or more would be punishable by imprisonment. Companies and individuals would be able to produce, distribute, sell, export, and import marijuana. Deputies are also pushing for an increase in the amount of marijuana that a person can possess without punishment.
The use of marijuana for medicinal purposes became free in Mexico in 2017. In 2018, Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled that marijuana prohibition was unconstitutional. Today in Mexico, you can possess up to 5 grams of marijuana without being arrested.
There are currently about 200 organized criminal groups in Mexico linked to drug trafficking. The government estimates that about 270,000 people have been killed in Mexico since 2006, mostly as a result of cartel activity.
Authorities expect legal recreational use of marijuana to increase competition, reduce prices, and shrink the black market, undermining the drug business. Many analysts believe legalization will have not a big impact on drug gangs, whose main source of income is cocaine, synthetic drugs, gasoline theft, and racketeering.
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