Mexico ‘ready’ to legalise cannabis next month

Mexico’s government this week set the wheels in motion for full legalisation of recreational marijuana.

Following a nationwide consultation last month in a series of public meetings, Mexico’s lawmakers agreed to honour the pledge to discuss the prospect of making cannabis legal.

The move came following a Supreme Court ruling last year that declared ‘prohibiting personal use of cannabis is unconstitutional’.

The ruling set in motion moves towards legislation that would allow the Latin American giant to relax current laws around marijuana.

A series of countrywide hearings ran on August 12, 14 and 16 allowing the public to have their say on various elements of law reform surrounding a host of topics from full legalisation of recreational cannabis to medical marijuana.

The results of those consultations – hailed as ‘overwhelmingly in favour of legalisation’ – are now in front of government ministers who are expected to ‘enact the will of the people’.

According to the leader of the Upper House’s Morena Party – Ricardo Monreal Avila – the Senate’s committees are reviewing 13 proposals on how to make legalisation work.

Speed and enthusiasm

The speed and enthusiasm for ushering through legislation to legalise cannabis in Mexico is, according to US-based Mexican political expert Jonathon Winterburn, “absolutely remarkable”.

“Look, make no bones about it, this is almost done and dusted as far as the ruling parties are concerned,” he told The Leaf Desk.

“This is no longer a case of ‘if’ Mexico will legalise cannabis, but more a question of ‘when’ it will legalise it.

“And the answer to that seems to already be coming the Senado de Mexico where the Morena Party is basically saying legislation could be drawn up before the end of October.

“That being the case it would be safe to assume this will pass as a bill in central government law in the first half of 2020.

“It is highly likely now that Mexico will become the next country in the world to legalise cannabis.”

Next steps

The next steps, according to a former director of the United States Office of National Drug Control Policy, will be to focus on regulation.

Gil Kerlikowske attended a summit at the Senate last week to debate legalisation and regulation – something he insisted would be paramount to the success of legislation.

Highlighting the need to protect young people from the risks of marijuana through strict control, he said: “We have to make sure that young people don’t use and are not exposed to this product.”

The former US Customs and Border Protection commissioner for ex-president Barack Obama, urged the Mexican authorities to ensure revenue raised from the taxation of cannabis was ploughed into drug rehabilitation, education programmes, and also methods of combatting any backlash from the drugs cartels.

“If you want a controlled environment for marijuana, you have to do everything possible to eliminate the black market,” he concluded.

The Leaf Desk will deliver updates from the Mexican Senate as soon as they become available