Mexico’s road to cannabis legalization has been stalled for two years. In 2018, the Supreme Court in Mexico ruled for the fifth consecutive time on a “pro cannabis legislation”. Within the Mexican Constitution, this automatically nullified cannabis prohibition.
Lawmakers were charged with coming up with a game plan. While the court ruled it a “constitutional right” for every Mexican to grow and consume and possess cannabis, they don’t have the authority to dictate the regulations of the newly legalized marketplace.
Since 2018, we have seen different proposals and it almost seemed by the end of last year that we were going to see a more formal plan on the books. Then – COVID happened and the entire legalization effort were paused until recently.
Throughout this time, activists continued to advocate for the legality and continued to pressure the Senate on their decisions.
As where it stands now – authorities are finalizing some agreements on how the regulations will play out. What we know is that currently there is an idea of a 12% sales tax, a 20-plant limit per individual as long as the harvest does not exceed 480 grams.
This last statement seems to be very difficult to enforce since it would be virtually impossible to verify each household if this law will be respected. Medical marijuana patients can register to grow more than 20 plants.
According to some legislators – there are still several issues that need to be resolved, however have until a December 15th to set the rules for the country according to a Supreme Court deadline. Yet by now one should question the validity of these “deadlines” seeing that it has been extended for the past two years. It’s not really a deadline when it’s that flexible – just saying.
I personally think that the holdup comes to who will be the party in control of the cannabis industry. They are allegedly establishing a decentralized regulatory committee to oversee all cannabis operations – yet if there is one thing we know to be true about Mexican politics, it’s never decentralized.
The Morena Party is currently in power and under the guise of “reform” have gutted hundreds of federal programs claiming it to be “corrupt with old power”. They are establishing “new agencies” all controlled by their own party.
It seems that within the ranks of the government, the parties are seeing how to shape the cannabis industry to best suit them. Some of the proposals included running cannabis as they ran Pemex – their nationally owned [yet recently made public] oil company.
Some regulators are proposing a similar state-run operation that would cap individuals and completely cut out foreign influence. However – this could mean that the cannabis industry in Mexico could take years to develop seeing that the country has no formal legal experience.
While there are a handful of grower-activists, there is nothing resembling the far more mature cannabis industry of Canada and the US. Yet at the same time, regulators fear that by allowing these foreign companies to reign free within the Mexican market – the country would lose out on capitalizing a crop that could be a major source of revenue for the government.
Thus – we’ll have to wait and see what happens this December. Some senators swore that the cannabis bill will pass this year meaning, Mexico may be the next country to have a fully-fledged legal cannabis program on the books.
Considering that the US probably will legalize after the November elections – perhaps in the beginnings of 2021 – we may see a major shift occur in 2020. The entire Northwestern Hemisphere legalizing cannabis would be a pretty big deal globally.
Mexico has been stalling on legalizing which has placed them at a slight disadvantage, but the benefit of international cannabis commerce between three nations that already have free-trade agreements could mean a new era for cannabis.
Right now activists are growing cannabis outside of the Senate in protest and gifting single plants to Senator Olga Sanchez – the chief voice of legalization in the Senate.
When it comes to CBD products and Hemp – these will not be as strictly regulated within the marketplace meaning that we can expect many hemp farms to start up over the next few years. Mexico is poised for stellar cannabis and hemp production due to its geographical location and relatively stable weather yearlong.
It will be interesting to see what will develop once cannabis goes international (legally that is). It would definitely mark the end of an era and the dawn of something new. Let’s hope that comes sooner than later.
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