The Mexican government is to stage a raft of public meetings next week in preparation for proposals that will legalise cannabis throughout the country.
Lawmakers in Mexico City teed up the prospect of legalisation last year when the nation’s Supreme Court ruled that ‘prohibiting personal use of cannabis is unconstitutional’.
That ruling paved the way for the Latin American giant to relax current laws around marijuana – a move which experts believe will happen in early 2020.
A series of countrywide hearings will run 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.
US-based Mexican political expert Jonathon Winterburn said the noises coming out of the Senado de Mexico were all saying the same thing – “cannabis will be legal in Mexico next year”.
“Only two or three years ago it would have seemed unthinkable that a Mexican government could possibly have considered the prospect of legalising marijuana,” he explained.
“But last year’s court ruling essentially opened all the doors and windows to that conversation taking place between the government and the people.
“And this is precisely what has happened here, so hats off to current regime for staying on course and involving the citizens of Mexico in the decision-making process.”
In an official Twitter message yesterday, the government said it was “heading to the regulation of cannabis” as part of an open government initiative to “analyse the initiatives on its use”.
Authorities in Mexico currently have a dozen legislation changes on the table, but will not act on any of them until after next week’s public consultation.
This, adds Mr Winterburn, is typical of modern Mexico’s approach to delicate subjects.
“Legalising cannabis is a pretty forward-thinking move from any country when you consider the very idea is at such an early stage in the process of progression throughout the world,” he said.
“So, it needs a forward thinking approach which, on the face of it, is precisely what we’re seeing here.
“From a cynical perspective it also covers all the bases too – let’s say, further down the line, cannabis legalisation actually goes quite badly wrong… well, the government can just turn to the people and say ‘hey, you told us you wanted this’, but I seriously doubt that’s even in their thinking.”
Earlier this year, Julion Ramon Salazar – leader of the Senate Justice Committee – urged ministers to use the summer recess to work on the development of marijuana legalisation.
He was instrumental in a government information website which tells people wishing to attend the public meetings that it will “initiate various legislative activities of open parliament in order to know and listen to the opinions that reflect the environment and the feeling of society with respect to such an important issue and, together with that, contribute to obtaining a regulation according to the reality of our country”.