Mexico May Become Third Nation To Legalize Marijuana

By Victoria Kim 11/20/18
A new bill submitted by Mexico's president-elect would allow adult possession and use of marijuana.
Mexican national flag flying in the Zocalo as the nation mulls over marijuana legalization

Mexico has a good chance of becoming the third nation in the world to legalize marijuana for adult use—after Uruguay and Canada.

President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who will take office on Dec. 1, has submitted legislation this month seeking to legalize marijuana for adult use.

The country legalized marijuana for medical use in June 2017—but the law limits medical marijuana products to “cannabis derivatives” that contain less than 1% THC.

The bill submitted by López Obrador would allow individuals to grow up to 20 plants and produce up to 17 ounces of marijuana each year. The law would allow public smoking and growing cooperatives, but not edible products.

This comes after Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled in October that a ban on marijuana for adult use is unconstitutional, declaring, “The effects caused by marijuana do not justify an absolute prohibition on its consumption.”

According to political analysts, the bill has a good shot at passing, possibly in 2019. López Obrador has been a vocal critic of the “war on drugs” approach, and promised to cut down violent crimes in the country.

According to the LA Times, there were 31,174 recorded homicide victims in 2017—the highest number in 20 years when this data was first collected. This year is on track to surpass that number.

López Obrador’s political party, Morena, has control of both houses of Congress. And the president-elect’s interior minister and former Supreme Court justice, Olga Sánchez Cordero, has criticized Mexico’s “prohibitionist” drug policy and co-wrote the proposed marijuana bill.

According to the legislation, 62% of Mexico’s prison population in 2012 were there on drug charges, a majority of them marijuana-related.

The recent high-profile trial of one of Mexico’s most notorious drug kingpins exemplifies the extent of the drug trade.

The trial of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera began in Brooklyn, New York on Nov. 13. The former Sinaloa cartel boss was extradited to the United States after escaping from maximum-security prison twice in Mexico.

The trial is unveiling the inner workings of the Sinaloa cartel. Jesus Zambada Garcia, its official accountant, testified that in an average year, the drug trafficking organization would transact “billions” of dollars in shipments.

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr