Yesterday, Mexico’s next Interior Minister submitted a bill to create a medical marijuana industry and allow its recreational use.
Yesterday, Mexico’s next Interior Minister submitted a bill to create a medical marijuana industry and allow its recreational use, in what would be a big step by the incoming government to shake up the country’s drug war.
If the bill passes, Mexico would join Canada, Uruguay and a host of U.S. states that permit recreational use of the drug and allow its commercialization. It would be one of the most populous countries to roll back prohibition.
Mexico, which banned marijuana in the early 20th century, is still a major supplier of illicit marijuana to the United States. It has been racked by a decade of conflict between cartels over supply routes for heroin, cocaine and synthetic drugs to its northern neighbor.
López Obrador, a veteran leftist who takes office on December 1, has promised major changes to Mexico’s approach to the war on drugs, suggesting a negotiated peace and amnesty to farmers forced to plant and harvest marijuana or opium poppy.
In the 26-page bill posted on the Congress website, Sánchez wrote that Mexico’s cannabis prohibition has contributed to crime and violence, adding that in the 12 years since Mexico launched a war on cartels, 235,000 people have been killed.
“The policy of prohibition arises from the false assumption that the problem of drugs should be tackled from a penal focus,” wrote Sánchez, a former Supreme Court magistrate.
A NEW INDUSTRY
Sánchez Cordero proposes the creation of an institute that regulates, monitors, sanctions, and evaluates the system of cannabis regulation. The bill is based on a strict regulation model, that is, a point between absolute prohibition and an open market.
In regards to personal use, planting, growing, using, preparing, and transforming up to 20 cannabis plants will be allowed, as long as they are destined for personal consumption in a private property. The bill forbids operating heavy machinery or driving under the influence of the drug. Smoking marijuana in public places would also be permitted. Cannabis producers would be banned from hiring minors or selling the drug to them.
The creation of cooperatives of two and up to 150 partners, will be allowed, as long as they have a permit; they can only produce 480 grams per partner, each year, and the surplus will have to be donated for scientific research.
Those who want to have over 20 plants for health reasons will have to request a permit to the institute.
For its commercial use, marijuana can be used for medical, therapeutic, palliative, herbalist, or industrial purposes.
Last week, Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled that an absolute ban on the recreational use of marijuana was unconstitutional, effectively leaving it to lawmakers to regulate the consumption of the drug.
Since 2006, Mexico has used military might to fight drug gangs, which have splintered into smaller groups battling over trafficking routes and territory.
The country saw more than 31,000 murders last year, the highest total since modern records began, according to government data.
In the U.S., 30 states have marijuana regulations, nine for its recreational use and the rest for its medical use.