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Famed marijuana grower and activist Jorge Cervantes has given Mexico his blessing. As the nation takes baby steps towards legalization of medical marijuana, we have to wonder what it’s like to grow ‘mota’ in Mexico, and why the government isn’t regulating a free market for its cultivation.
The United States has now found itself situated between two nations who support federally approved medical marijuana. Our neighbors to the north, Canada, have approved adult use recreational marijuana, and now Mexico is dipping its toes in the water by introducing a policy that would permit and regulate medical marijuana.
Mexico has a long history with cannabis and is no stranger to growing marijuana either. Marijuana and Mexico are pretty much synonymous, but soon they could go from the world’s biggest producer of seedy-brick weed to a self-sufficiently supplying its citizens with high-CBD medical grade cannabis.
“Immediately resolved the criminality and prohibition of the drug for medical purposes (and for scientific studies). Currently, the only cannabis that will be permitted must contain 1% or less of Tetrahydrocannabinol, and the Ministry of Health will be required to study the medicinal and therapeutic effects of cannabis before creating the framework for a medical marijuana program infrastructure.”
In 2009, Mexico decriminalized the possession of up to five grams, as well as small amounts of other drugs. The idea behind the movement was to switch from treating drug addiction as a criminal offense to a health issue. Similar shifts in policy by other countries, such as Holland, have had a significant impact on addiction and overdose rates.
However, it wasn’t until 2015 that Mexico really made a big shift in cannabis policy perspective. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of allowing eight-year-old, Graciela Elizalde, to use CBD oil to reduce the frequency of her seizures and improve her quality of life.
Cannabis has been flowing from Mexico to the U.S. for a very long time, and as everything is unfolding for legalization in North America, Mexico could be looking to continue their position as a major supplier of sinsemilla.
The country had previously issued permits for 4 individuals in 2015 to cultivate, possess, and use cannabis, but the new changes to legislation could permit Mexican’s to grow their own cannabis. It’s doubtful the average citizen has access to the kind of cannabis genetics that produce less than 1% THC though.
Recently, famed activist and cannabis cultivator, Jorge Cervantes, gave Mexico his blessing at the CannaMexico World Summit saying that Mexico has the perfect climate and soil for growing cannabis. Cervantes indicated in his presentation titled, The Cannabis Revolution, that Mexico is considered a world power in cannabis production and marketing.
According to Cervantes, Mexico has great land for planting cannabis and its geography gives many competitive advantages to produces further north on the continent. He says that Mexico’s fall and winter allow for the continuous production of cannabis allowing farmers to harvest four to six crops per year.
Combined low costs of labor and production with Mexico’s long history for mass-producing marijuana, the nation would have no problem providing themselves with an abundance of cannabis-derived products for export to the rest of the world.
Strangely though, the government has yet to pursue the avenue of creating a regulated medical marijuana market. Their new bill only cautiously permits the scientific and medical use of cannabis in regards to growing and distributing it.
Recently, Mexico’s Federal Commissioner of Cofepris, Julio Sánchez Tepoz, was quoted saying that “Medical cannabis could be available early 2018.” At the moment, Mexican’s only have access to imported CBD products though.
With a rich history of cannabis cultivation and hemp agriculture, and of course Jorge Cervantes blessings, why isn’t Mexico producing their own products and encouraging the growth of such a huge potential tax revenue source?
Well, the Mexican government is corrupt, as are most, and it’s likely that a legal and regulated market could have a severe impact on illegal black market cartel operations.
Surely, once appropriate channels have been ensured to funnel the profits of medical marijuana into the right hand's Mexican citizens will see more progressive measures taken for cannabis policy reform. Unfortunately, the policy is shaped more by money than by compassion or common sense in most of the world, especially when it comes to regulating the industry of a commodity such as cannabis.
According to a 2009 study from the Justice in Mexico organization, 93.6% of municipal police in Mexico depend on corruption to make a living wage. Considering only about 61% of Mexican officers made the equivalent of around $300 or less per month, corruption data isn’t surprising.
Mexico is a beautiful and vibrant place with a rich culture and is historically connected with cannabis cultivation. While marijuana use is common, both medicinally and recreationally, opinions on the plant are still stigmatized and conservative.
According to recent survey data from the Center of Social Studies and Public Opinion, the majority of Mexicans surveyed don’t support recreational use, 73%, yet 765 percent think it’s ok for medicinal purposes. An astounding 82 percent of survey respondents said no to cannabis sales and distribution in Mexico.
With mixed perspectives, but incredible potential, Mexico is making moves towards integrating into the world cannabis commerce scene that is slowly emerging. It’s too soon to know if
Mexican’s will be allowed to cultivate their own cannabis for personal use, but it’s likely that medical patients may have some special permission to cultivate the plant, which is a step in a good direction.
All in all, Mexico is primed to enter the budding cannabis industry, but only time will tell how their cannabis policy approach will play out on the world stage.