Mexico is on track to become one of the world’s largest cannabis economies, once the country’s cannabis legalisation bill passes the lower house in Congress.
Mexico’s Federal Law for the Regulation of Cannabis has been in the works for over two years after the Mexican Supreme Court ruled the criminalisation of cannabis unconstitutional in 2018. The bill legalises the recreational use of cannabis when a child is not present.
The legislation also allows adults to grow up to four cannabis plants at home and carry 28 grams of cannabis at a time. Driving under the influence of THC will remain illegal with cannabis dispensaries limited to selling cannabis with a medium or low THC potency.
The bill appeared before the Senate last Thursday, where it passed in a successful 82 – 18 vote (though there were 7 abstractions). The bill was originally due for a ruling in October, but this was delayed by COVID-19. Legislators, activists and the public are now hoping the bill will pass the Chamber of Deputies with any further delays, though the end of the current congressional session is approaching fast.
Once passed, this will make Mexico the biggest country, by population, to legalise cannabis. Mexico is currently home to over 125 million people and will be the third country to legalise cannabis at a federal level – after Uruguay and Canada.
In anticipation of cannabis legalisation, Mexican advocates have even planted a cannabis garden next to Mexico’s senate. Cannabis is also supported by politicians, the public and the Mexican President.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has previously called cannabis legalisation a “development of freedoms” for Mexico. In a press conference last week he also rejected the idea that legalisation will pave the way for an increase in crime and youth cannabis use, stating:
If something is allowed (people will) act responsibly. I believe that this will happen in this new legislation on the use of marijuana. Have confidence in people and seek to do good.
While the legalisation of cannabis is often touted as a one-way ticket to cannabis-ridden-child-zombies, research shows that the rate of cannabis addiction in teenagers to drop by nearly 50% in states with legal cannabis. This is consistent with data from Canada as well.
The Chamber of Deputies will vote on the bill in mid-December.