As of Wednesday, the Mexican lawmakers have passed a bill that ultimately allows recreational marijuana in the country.
If this happens so then Mexico will be the world’s next largest cannabis market.
However, before this bill gets signed by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador making recreational weed officially legal, the bill needs to get approval from the Senate yet. As it has passed from Mexico’s lower house, the chamber of deputies only.
Although the bill got 316 in favor and 129 votes opposing it. Let’s find out what will be the changes in the country and weed market if this legalization happens.
What Does This New Legislation Bill bring for Weeders in Mexico?
- The new legalization bill approves the adult citizens of the country (people of age 18 or above) to smoke marijuana. That means there will be no anymore penalty for being caught in the recreational activity of weed.
- Additionally, for the weed cultivators, this law might approve some cannabis plants to be grown in a private space.
- Apart from personal users, farmers, commercial growers will be given licenses to grow and produce cannabis in the country. With that, the selling of pot will also exist in the region.
- There will be industrial benefits due to the increase in cannabis businesses in the country. There will be a boom in jobs as well. While the government might get revenue from these businesses resulting in economic development as well.
- After U.S and Canada, Mexico will be the new cannabis hub for the weeders around the world. That is more likely to attract cannabis tourism as well.
Well, this good news for weed enthusiasts in the country is also getting criticism yet before coming into effect.
What Does Opposition Say?
One of the bill’s most vocal detractors, PAN’s (National Action Party) Damián Zepeda Vidales said, “It’s a political fad. It’s a matter for politicians, for an elite that’s now empowered in Congress and in government that wants to impose a way of life on society.”
While some other critics said that it is not likely to be imposed in a region where the majority of people oppose the legalization of marijuana.
Apart from this, whether this bill will be beneficial for the country’s economic growth, economist Jeffrey Miron said, “It’s hard to see any obvious broad effects on the Mexican economy. You will see a little bit of a bump in measured G.D.P but people claiming that it will be a big boost to the economy through legalization, I don’t think that makes sense at all.”
While in contrary to that, “We definitely see it as an important economic boost for the country especially in the middle of a pandemic.” Said Erick Ponce, a Mexican entrepreneur and president of the Cannabis Industry Promotion Group. “The cannabis industry is going to finally generate income in terms of employment, in terms of the local economy, in terms of taxation,” he added.
Although the word-battle is always there in the country, stats show that this law might bring a revolutionary change in the marijuana business.
With around 128 million people, Mexico can be the largest marijuana market in the world if the law gets approved. According to one of the reports in 2016, the Mexican National Institute of Public Health reported that lifetime cannabis use prevalence was 8.6% in Mexican people. While male prevalence was higher than females.
Therefore, this easily describes that cannabis has been one of the most popular drug substances in the country. Despite the historical ban, regulations on it, people have been consistently used marijuana either from black markets or from somewhere else.
By the last quarter of 2020, the country’s national statistics agency estimated that consumers spent about $736 million U.S. dollars on legal weed products. That is enough to show where can economic growth go if cannabis businesses get encouraged by the authorities.
No doubt, if the law gets approved in Senate and comes into effect then it will bombard new opportunities for job seekers, entrepreneurs, businesses, and the government as well. According to a January report from a cannabis data analysis company, New Frontier Data, the Mexican marijuana market could be worth as much as 3.2 billion dollars annually.
Therefore, tax revenue from this market will benefit the government as well.
What Do Experts Say?
Chief Executive of Ceres Soluciones, a medicinal cannabis company Juan Sánchez Mejorada said, “It’s an excellent economic, natural, ethical and moral solution for a country in need. Doing this right could give Mexico an economic surplus.”
While another local activist Ivania Medina Rodríguez said, “It’s a law for the rich, and marijuana should be for everybody. They’re going for business before rights.”
Many marijuana activists, political parties along with the President of the country have been in the favor of legalization. Even President Obrador believes that this law could combat drug-related violence in the country. Therefore, it might lead to more security in the region. With legalization, it can also reduce the effect of the illegal drug trade and other lucrative drug traders.
Drug Wars in the country have been since the year 2006 and according to a report more than 100,000 people have died since its beginning. Since President Obrador came into power in 2018, he declared the end of drug wars and implemented a strategy known as “Abrazos, no blazes” (Hugs, not bullets), which seeks to tackle poverty and social inequality as a means to decrease drug-related violence in the country.
Although security experts believe that the law’s practical impact on violence will be minimal.
However, some other experts have shown complete belief in this law. Falko Ernst, senior Mexico analyst for the International Crisis Group, a global research organization said, “We shouldn’t overestimate the power of this bill. The bill will not substantially change the dynamics and drivers of lethal conflict in Mexico.”
Apart from this, as the legislation gets approved in the lower chamber, it made history in the country’s legislation. “Today we are making history,” Simey Olvera, a deputy who voted for the bill said. Olvera is a member of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s left-wing Morena party.
“With this, the false belief that cannabis forms part of Mexico’s serious health problems is left behind,” she added.
Overall, the majority of the signs in the country are ‘green’ now regarding the legalization of recreational weed.
History of Mexican Laws
Cannabis has already been legalized for medical weed enthusiasts in the country in 2017 year. This was the first time in the country that the lawmakers introduced a law favoring the recreational weeders in the region.
Some industry leaders also say that the real money in Mexico may be in medicinal cannabis. Although medical cannabis has been legalized way back before in the country. Recreational legalization will also bring new growth to the economic graph.
Considering recreational weed use, the Supreme Court of Mexico has already ruled in 2018 that prohibiting the use of weed by adults is unconstitutional.
Cannabis in the country has been illegal since 1920 but after medical legalization in 2017, this was the first time that Mexico has taken a step this much closer to legalize recreational marijuana.
Many industrial leaders, activists have supported this movement and it is now likely that Mexico will finally legalize marijuana for all of the residents making itself one of the largest cannabis hubs in the world.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much possession of weed is allowed in this latest law?
This bill will allow adult residents of the country to possess up to 28 grams of cannabis. Although they can also purchase it from an authorized seller or shop.
Does it allow to grow cannabis in Mexico?
Yes! If this law gets passed completely, it will permit to the growth of up to six cannabis plants at home without any issue.
Can I sell cannabis in Mexico?
After the approval of authorities and getting a license, one will be eligible to commercially grow cannabis and sell them in the country. However, before that, one must need a license for the same.
What is the adult age for indulging in cannabis activity in Mexico?
People of the age 18 or above can only get into cannabis activities. Cannabis remains illegal for minors while some medical conditions might be exceptions for medical cannabis treatment.
Who can get the license for the commercial cultivation of weed?
Farmers, businesses, organizations, and indigenous people will be given priority in licensing. However, as the license remains compulsory for commercial cultivation, people can also grow for personal usage if needed.
Can I buy weed seeds in Mexico now?
Only after complete legalization! The sale, purchase, and cultivation of weed seeds will be legalized for recreational purposes as the latest law comes into effect.
Mexico’s Chamber of Deputies has already passed the legislation, although it is yet to be passed through Senate and final approval from the President. Well, the bill is also almost certain to be passed, as the Morena party holds majorities in both chambers. Therefore, no doubt, there will be soon a positive announcement by the officials for recreational marijuana.