The Mexican Senate will vote on a marijuana legalization bill at some point within the next two weeks, according to the leader of the governing body’s majority party. The vote has been a long time coming and some observers think that, at last, this could finally be the deciding move.
Senate leader Ricardo Monreal of the MORENA party said the bill, which would enable private companies to sell marijuana to the public, is “likely to pass” the Senate before the end of October.
From there, the bill will move on to the Chamber of Deputies, a lower house of Congress, where insiders believe it is also likely to pass.
exico has been building momentum toward legalization since 2018, when the country’s Supreme Court ruled that prohibiting cannabis was a constitutional violation of citizens’ rights to the “free development of personality.” The court then ordered lawmakers to pass a bill legalizing marijuana in one year’s time. After arguing legislators blew that deadline, the court granted an extension until December 15 of this year.
Things got serious again this past August, when President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said that lawmakers would get back on the legalization bill as soon as they returned from summer break. “There have already been consultations,” the president said, “and if they are going to decide on this matter, that is, there is going to be a legal reform.”
The bill that the Senate is slated to vote on would create a framework that allows adults over 18- years-old to be allowed to cultivate and possess up to 28 grams of cannabis for personal use. But, possession of up to 200 grams would be decriminalized.
Individuals would also be allowed to grow up to 20 plants as long as their annual yield doesn’t exceed 480 grams. Medical patients could apply to grow more than 20 plants if deemed necessary. Public consumption of weed would be allowed everywhere except in spaces regulated as “100 percent smoke-free.” Marijuana sales would be taxed at 12 percent, with some of the revenue going toward drug misuse programs. And, all these new stipulations would be overseen by a newly established governmental body, the Mexican Institute of Regulation and Control of Cannabis.
As with legalization battles in other areas around the world, however, building social equity into the final law is a major political concern, as huge multinational corporations are looking to swoop into Mexico’s massive weed marketplace.
The civil rights organization México Unido tweeted that measures must be taken to prevent such interlopers from monopolizing the trade. The group stated that the bill should not pass until it actively addresses the “matter of distributing the benefits of the market among those who have been most affected” by the long, tragic prohibition of marijuana.
Activists have been cultivating, harvesting, and smoking marijuana in “The Garden of Maria” since last February. This dope little area is a fertile patch of land right outside the Senate building in Mexico City. Police have shown no interest in shutting the garden down, which has given many citizens hope for eventual legalization.
Come on, Mexico — legalize it!