Mexico's Proposed Law to Federally legalize marijuana aims at cutting out drug-related crime

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Mexican lawmakers are debating the details of legislation that would legalize marijuana nationwide. Some are projecting that legislation could be ready for consideration as soon as late October, making for a quick turnaround on the issue. 

If Mexico legalizes marijuana for adult use nationwide, the country will become only the third in the world to do so. Uruguay and Canada have both made cannabis legal at the federal level. The decision would put the United States, where marijuana is illegal at the federal level, between two large countries that are getting a big head start in creating legal cannabis markets. 

Lawmakers are considering 13 different proposals during hearings that will include comments from the public, according to Mexico News Daily. These include a bill filed by Sen. Julio Menchaca Salazar of the government’s ruling MORENA party.

Making cannabis unlawful has “only generated the creation of an organized mafia,” the senator said, according to a MORENA press release.

The Supreme Court Cleared The Way For This In Early 2019

Lawmakers are reviewing the legalization proposals because, according to Reuters, the country’s Supreme Court ruled that the prohibition against marijuana was unconstitutional. The decision was part of a series of orders issued by the court on marijuana in late 2018.

Per the Mexican Supreme Court, “the effects caused by marijuana do not justify an absolute prohibition on its consumption.” The decision effectively turned the issue over the government to establish the rules and regulations of a legal system.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s government has since created legislation that creates a medical marijuana industry nationwide, and also would legalize recreational marijuana nationwide, Reuters reported. That move came after the Supreme Court had a six-month deadline for lawmakers to create regulations for medical marijuana to ensure patients who need cannabis can obtain it legally.

Mexico Lawmakers Want Legalization To Help Curtail Drug-Related Crime

The bill filed by the president’s party is one of many that address crime in Mexico, focused heavily on drug-related crime; which continues to be a major issue for Mexico.

Mexican drug cartels reportedly make between $19 billion and $29 billion in drug sales in the United States, according to a joint Mexico-U.S. report, per CNN.   

According to the press release about the bill filed by Salazar, the legislation would make Mexico’s Ministry of Health responsible for designing regulations for the “planting, cultivation, harvesting, preparation, possession and transportation” of marijuana, as well as the laws governing use by adults in the country.

With a possible legislation draft within the next couple of weeks, Mexico could find itself with legalized marijuana nationwide as early as 2020.

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