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Cannabis has a long and intricate history in Mexico, woven into the social and legal fabric of the country. While the plant was historically used for medicinal and spiritual purposes, its status has changed significantly over the years. This article delves into the history, significant milestones, public sentiment, and the recent news surrounding cannabis in Mexico. 

A Brief History of Cannabis in Mexico

Cannabis was not indigenous to Mexico; it was introduced by Spanish colonialists in the 16th century for industrial uses, such as hemp for ropes and sails. The plant’s psychoactive properties were discovered later, and it began to be used for medicinal and recreational purposes. For much of Mexico’s early history, cannabis remained relatively unregulated. However, it wasn’t long before the government imposed restrictions, mainly as anti-cannabis sentiment grew in the early 20th century.

Timeline of Major Events

  • 1920s: The Mexican government officially prohibited cannabis.
  • 1970s: Mexico became a significant supplier of illicit marijuana to the U.S., resulting in joint U.S.-Mexico operations like “wasn’tMexico’splant’sOperation Intercept” to control drug trafficking.
  • 2009: Decriminalize small amounts (up to 5 grams) of cannabis for personal use.
  • 2015: Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled that prohibiting personal cultivation and use of cannabis was unconstitutional, setting the stage for further legislative change.
  • 2017: Medical cannabis was legalized, though restrictions on what constituted ‘medical use’ were stringent.
  • 2018: Mexico’s Supreme Court reiterated its 2015 ruling, compelling the legislative body to make a move.
  • 2021: The Mexican Senate approved a bill to legalize recreational cannabis, though it faced delays and hasn’t been enacted as of the latest update.


Public Sentiment

Public sentiment around cannabis in Mexico is complex and varies widely. While there’s a growing movement advocating for legalization, echoing global trends, conservative voices remain strong. Traditionally, cannabis has been stigmatized due to its association with illicit activities. However, younger generations increasingly support legalization, not just for recreational use but also for its potential economic and medical benefits.

Recent Legal Status

As of 2022, recreational cannabis remains illegal, but there’s a legislative push for change. Medical cannabis is permitted, although the regulations are stringent, requiring specific governmental approval. The Mexican Senate’s approval of the bill in 2021 marked a significant milestone, but the legislation is currently stuck in limbo. The aim is to create a regulated market that could be one of the world’s largest, but disagreements over specifics, such as who would control the new industry, have delayed progress.


Cannabis in Mexico is at a crucial turning point, balancing between a rich, complicated history and a future that looks increasingly open to legalization. Both public opinion and legislative actions are evolving, making it a subject of keen interest nationally and internationally. As the world keeps an eye on this space, the journey of cannabis in Mexico continues to unfold.

If you’re interested in the progress of cannabis legalization in Mexico, this is undoubtedly a space to watch closely in the coming months.