Finally, the justices of Mexico’s highest court have grown weary of the Health Ministry’s foot-dragging when it comes to cannabis regulation. At the same time, citizens are left confused about the official status of the plant in Mexico – both medically and recreationally.
The issue of legalizing cannabis in Mexico has been a hot topic, debated for years. Having endured numerous iterations, the country seems a little closer to making medical cannabis available for patients who want it. The Health Ministry has been talking about various proposals for the best part of two years, but no reliable decisions have yet been reached. That could be why the Supreme Court just informed the ministry that they have up to six months to issue some guidance.
It was about a year ago that Andrés Manuel López Obradoro’s left-leaning government brought forward a bill to regulate cannabis. The bill included a proposal to regulate the industry on two levels – medical and recreational. However, that proposal has hardly moved in a year, and most people know that’s down to corruption and the power that the drug cartels in Mexico wield.
Last year, following the legalization of medical cannabis in Mexico, the Health Ministry was tasked with regulating the usage and distribution of medical cannabis in the country. As those regulations have still not been forthcoming, patients and distributors alike remain unclear. Full cannabis legalization was one of the main platforms Obradoro ran on, but despite big promises, hardly any movement has been seen on the ground.
The tragedy is that the original proposal, put forward by the party’s Interior Minister, Olga Sánchez Cordero, was a perfect balance (according to many) between legalization and safe regulation of cannabis. The proposal wants to ban cannabis advertising but at the same time establish the Mexican Institute of Regulation and Control of Cannabis. This agency would deal with all licensing and regulation of THC and CBD products.
The proposal goes even further, making a provision for legally registered home grows to produce a yield of a maximum of 480g per year. Those “cooperatives” would then provide cannabis to 150 members per year. As far as legalizing cannabis goes, Cordero’s proposal is a smart one according to many commentators. Many people in Mexico hope the foot-dragging will come to an end soon so that Mexicans can have the access to cannabis that they require.
In a complete change of direction, Mexico stands poised to go from cannabis prohibition to the exact opposite. That’s because the Supreme Court ruled that the principles of cannabis prohibition violate human rights. As such, lawmakers in the country now have until October to get cannabis legislation and regulation in order. The government also invited citizens to comment on the process and to offer their opinions and feedback.
The fact remains that black market cannabis in Mexico is a multi-billion dollar enterprise. That means there are scores of individuals who directly benefit and profit from cannabis being illegal. Another issue the country has to overcome is the outside investment in Mexican cannabis, which could see all of its profits “exported.”
Despite all this, Mexico appears poised to make some significant changes when it comes to cannabis. It will be interesting to see how those changes pan out and if the October 2019 on the Health Ministry will be fulfilled.