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Mexico Senate on Track to Endorse Recreational Cannabis by December |

Since 2015, when four people who had grown their cannabis to use for personal purposes were favored by the Supreme Court, the discussion has been bubbling south of Rio Grande about cannabis reform. The court was rather unambiguous about the same, literally ruling that cannabis prohibition violated the human right of free expression of a person’s personality.

The legislative road to reform, however, so far has been difficult.

In June 2017, President Enrique Peña Nieto signed a bill authorizing medical use. 

But, the Supreme Court did not stop there. They clearly felt that this law was too restrictive. According to the Mexican Supreme Court, access to cannabis is a legal right that literally means that a person has the right to possess it. Cannabis prohibitions are unconstitutional. 

Forward enshrining this decision into law has not only resulted in repeated ball drops, but also COVID. Even though the court granted legal extensions to the slow legislature, it is clear that the time has come. In late June this year, the court reaffirmed its support for recreational cannabis use, striking down the previous cannabis legislation. No more delays. 

As a result, the president of the Mexican Senate, Olga Sánchez Cordero, believes that recreational reform will be finally passed into law as of December 2021.

This isn’t a decision they can make. However, it is notable that a Mexican senior politician (and a woman) is speaking out about this issue.

Not to mention of course, just north of Mexico’s most famous, if not fortuitously placed river.

What Can Recreational Reform North or South of the U.S. Domestically Look Like?

The reason recreational cannabis is attractive in Mexico is because it can be sandwiched between the U.S. and two neighbours who are pursuing adult-use. 

While this will not make the issue more popular in America, it will increase the number of voices calling for reform.

Mexican cannabis is a compelling, if not threatening, spectre that has been raised beyond encouraging federal reform. The import of marijuana grown on the Mexican recreational markets but bound for the U.S.

It’s not like other agricultural produce has not gone this route before. Not to mention “illicit” drugs of every kind, including, of course, cannabis.

Ironically, particularly given the U.S.’s influence in Mexico, especially during the Drug War, it is going to be Mexico that is going to show the U.S. the way.

One thing’s certain. 100 years of prohibitionist policies are ending as of December 2018.

The Next Step

Expectations that Mexico will suddenly become a Club Med cannabis destination may not be realized. The new law will not establish a separate agency to oversee and regulate the nascent industry, but rather an existing one—the National Commission Against Addictions. Adults aged 18 and older will have the right to plant up to six plants, as well as possess 28 grams (around an ounce) worth of flowers.

However, penalties for unauthorised possession (people younger than 18) will increase. This is to stop forest land being converted to cannabis cultivation areas and force regulators into coordinated campaigns to combat problematic cannabis use by minors.

Some are not happy about the pending passage. Advocates hoped to add language that addresses priority license authorisation for those from marginalized communities. Although the bill gives priority to the same, the bill doesn’t set aside any percentage of licenses. 

Advocates also encouraged legislators to eliminate the harshest punishments for breaking the law. They called them counterproductive.

Of course, there is never a perfect thing.

However, the mood is shifting towards a more recreational future. Two times, the Supreme Court of the Land has ruled that complete reform is inevitable. Over the years, Senators were publicly given both plants and joints as political winds changed. 

It sounds very different to the one currently being debated just north.