The recent legalization of medical marijuana in Mexico is the country’s first step toward reducing violence associated with illegal drug cartels. The decision to legalize has both implications and the potential for businesses, some of which have been importing cannabis-derived products into the country since February 2016 already, when the Mexican government issued the first-ever license for it.
Recently, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto put his name to a decree legalizing cannabis for medical purposes. This move followed widespread support for legalization within the Mexican Senate and Congress. Back in April, they passed the measure with an overwhelming majority of 347-7, and now, the Ministry of Health has the job of creating a regulatory environment for medical weed.
The recent presidential decree tasks the Ministry of Health with creating and implementing an array of regulations to oversee the use of medical cannabis derivatives, including all strains and types, as well as their contents, such as tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, and cannabinoids, or CBDs. The department will first develop a research plan for medical analysis of marijuana and its potential impact.
Medical Marijuana in Mexico
In Latin America, the illegal cannabis trade is violent and corrupt. Containing its chaos has been problematic for decades, even in countries where medical marijuana is legal. To combat violence, decriminalization is the focus of many countries. Others, such as Uruguay, have already legalized, and liberal U.S. policies are reducing demand from the black markets in most of them.
Liberalizing cannabis policy has not been Mexico’s first choice. The majority of its citizens actually oppose legalization. Because of the country’s long history of violence, people have difficulty understanding the impact that liberal weed laws would have on criminal cartels. Many are afraid it will make the violence worse, and that these cartels would hassle those operating legal services.
Additionally, the Catholic Church is a staunch opponent of legalizing cannabis in any way. In Mexico, Catholicism is widespread and pervasive among the population, and as such, the Church’s views play a significant role in people’s acceptance of it. Now, President Enrique Pena Nieto is taking active steps to combat the violence and turn the country around.
Back in April, he admitted that the measures implemented by the international community to control cannabis are insufficient and ineffective for his country and its unique situation. He wants to get his country past prohibition and into a program of effective prevention. President Pena Nieto is a well-known advocate of the belief that addiction is a health problem and not a criminal one.
Marijuana Legalization in Mexico
Although this move is positive and forward thinking, there is much work that still needs doing. Many believe the legislation to be below society’s expectations and nearing the status of yet another failed drug policy. Until the Ministry of Health defines regulations for cannabis operations and personal use, exactly how the Mexican government implements the new laws remains a mystery.
Yet, investment opportunities for companies abound in the country’s newly legalized environment. The medical marijuana industry is certainly attractive, and businesses are already importing marijuana-derived products to treat epilepsy and a host of other medical conditions. They are now even exporting their products to medical patients and their many conditions in other Latin American countries too.
Mexicans now have access to medical weed, but there is a catch: The law only allows cannabis derivatives specifically for medical purposes. This means that products must be low in THC and high in CBD, such as those made from hemp. It will likely be difficult for patients to find potent marijuana on the legal market, as available products will not contain sufficient THC for users to feel the effects.
Nonetheless, Mexican lawmakers are dedicating their energy toward marijuana reform, which is very good news for patients needing CBDs to treat serious medical conditions. The decision of Mexico to legalize medical weed could have a ripple effect across Latin America. Other countries may soon follow Mexico’s example, and it could even influence federal policy in the United States.
Now that medical marijuana is legal in both Mexico and Canada, there may be some pressure on the U.S. Federal Government to do the same. Soon, all states within the U.S. and its bordering countries will want legal cannabis trade, but it all hinges on federal marijuana policy. Currently, developments indicate a desire for companies to expand their products across the Americas and worldwide.
Legalization of Medical Marijuana in Mexico
With Canada and now Mexico both supportive of medical cannabis reform, experts predict that it is just a matter of time before the United States joins the fray and legalizes at the national level. Currently, medical cannabis is legal in 30 U.S. states. Seventeen others permit CBDs. Many feel the lack of federal leadership in this matter criminally offensive, as continuing with prohibition is violating human rights.
Science supports the health benefits of cannabis and its medicinal value. More and more people are demanding full legalization. The opioid epidemic is horrendous, despite the obvious ability of cannabis to treat addiction to it. People want leaders worldwide to provide answers and show accountability for denying people their rights, especially here in the United States.