Mexico very well might be the 2nd North-American country to legalize cannabis in 2019.
On October 31st, 2018 the Mexico supreme court stated that the country’s marijuana policies were unconstitutional and violated the personal liberties of its citizens.
Newly elected President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has entered office with a lot of change to live up to. He won the election in a landslide with promises of bringing peace and stability to a country that has not seen a whole lot of either as of late. Senator Olga Sanchez Cordero, who is Obradors interior secretary, introduced a bill in November 2018 that would allow marijuana to be grown, consumed, and regulated. The new political party Morena that was started by Obrador also holds majorities of both houses of Congress so there is a fair amount of optimism that this bill should pass in 2019. Obrador and Cordero have both deemed Mexico’s military-based war on drugs a failure and hope to end the violence that has left over 230,000 people dead and another 40,000 missing since 2006.
If the bill passes Mexico would join Canada, Uruguay, and 10 US states that allow the recreational commercialization of cannabis. It would allow citizens to grow up to 20 plants and produce up to 17 ounces a year. Citizens would be allowed to smoke publicly as well as join cooperatives of up to 150 people, but edibles would still be banned. A 2016 national survey showed that roughly 7 million Mexicans smoked cannabis at least once in their life. The marijuana market in Mexico is projected to be worth around $2 billion a year and would also likely attract more tourism which is already a $20 billion industry and represents about 7% of the country’s GDP. Nothing is guaranteed yet, especially with the catholic church which has a good amount of political influence being very critical of cannabis. However, we can be optimistic and hopeful for positive change in 2019 for our neighbors down south.
Should this go through where would that leave us? The United States would then be left as the odd man out as both of our neighboring countries would have legal cannabis systems. Let’s cross our fingers that this all works out, and maybe, just maybe our great country will follow that momentum and make North America the first continent in the world to legalize cannabis.