Mexico’s Ruling Party Plans Legislation To Legalize Marijuana Sales

Mexico’s Ruling Party Plans Legislation To Legalize Marijuana Sales

Just days after Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled that laws prohibiting the use, possession and personal cultivation of marijuana are unconstitutional, key officials from the country’s ruling party said they are already pondering legislation to legalize cannabis sales as well.

First, Mexico’s Congress will act to repeal the now-invalidated criminal statues against marijuana.

But then, “we are going to take a step forward in the regulation that may already involve the production, marketing and distribution of marijuana,” said Olga Sánchez Cordero, a senator who is expected to become interior secretary in the incoming government of President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

Their party, the National Regeneration Movement, which goes by the acronym MORENA in Spanish, controls Mexico’s Congress.

“I say it from the heart: we celebrate it, the Court is setting a marvelous precedent for us to walk in that direction,” Sánchez said, according to a Google translation of a Reforma report.

Mario Delgado, a party leader in the other half of Mexico’s Congress, the Chamber of Deputies, told the news outlet that he would support the marijuana legislation.

“We have seen progress in Canada, in the United States,” he said.

Last month, Sánchez and other members of López Obrador’s future cabinet discussed legalizing cannabis with Canadian government officials on a trip to that country, which ended prohibition of cannabis on October 17.

López Obrador takes office as president on December 1.

Where Mexico’s Next President Stands On Marijuana

See the original article published on Marijuana Moment below:

Mexico’s Ruling Party Plans Legislation To Legalize Marijuana Sales

Mexican Supreme Court Strikes Down Marijuana Prohibition

Mexican Supreme Court Strikes Down Marijuana Prohibition

By issuing rulings in two separate cases on Wednesday, Mexico’s Supreme Court set binding precedent that the country’s ban on consuming marijuana is unconstitutional.

The move comes as the nation’s incoming presidential administration has been considering legalization.

Earlier this month, designated members of President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s future cabinet discussed legalizing cannabis with Canadian government officials on a trip to that county, which ended prohibition of the drug this month.

The two new high court judgements follow three similar previous rulings. Under Mexican law, when chambers of the Supreme Court rule the same way five times on a given subject matter, it becomes binding precedent on all of the nation’s judges.

It also means that the government must now amend policies that contradict with the court’s constitutional interpretation, namely that marijuana laws need to be reformed.

“The ruling only applies personal possession and private use, and cultivation in the home for such use,” Steve Rolles, a senior policy analyst with the Transform Drug Policy Foundation, told Marijuana Moment in an interview. “It also allows for sharing. So the situation will be somewhat similar perhaps to the give-and-grow schemes in Washington, D.C. and Vermont in that it doesn’t allow for commercial sales. Though that seems likely to follow when lawmakers act to implement the ruling. Until the legislation is adapted, we will be in something of a grey area.”

“In these matters, the First Chamber held that the fundamental right to the free development of the personality allows the persons of legal age to decide – without any interference – what kind of recreational activities they wish to carry out and protect all the actions necessary to materialize that choice,” the court said in a press release, as translated by Google. “Now, it was also clarified that this right is not absolute and that the consumption of certain substances could be regulated, but the effects caused by marijuana do not justify an absolute prohibition on its consumption.”

The new precedent doesn’t mean that it is automatically legal for people to use and grow marijuana, but it does mean that judges considering the cases of those who are caught by police before formal statutory changes are implemented must abide by the Supreme Court’s ruling.

Mexico’s Congress has 90 days to repeal cannabis laws that are now considered unconstitutional.

The Wednesday rulings in cases 547/2018 and 548/2018 were first reported by HuffPost.

López Obrador takes office as president on December 1.

Where Mexico’s Next President Stands On Marijuana

See the original article published on Marijuana Moment below:

Mexican Supreme Court Strikes Down Marijuana Prohibition

Where Mexico’s Next President Stands On Marijuana

Where Mexico’s Next President Stands On Marijuana

The next president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, is open-minded when it comes to drug policy. Though his personal stance on cannabis legalization remains relatively opaque for now, one of his key advisors who is expected to occupy a top cabinet office is all-in on ending prohibition.

López Obrador, the leftist who became president-elect in a landslide victory on Sunday, expressed openness to considering legalizing all drugs in the country during a May debate. But he’s demurred on taking a personal stance on marijuana legalization specifically.

That said, López Obrador’s pick for interior secretary during the transition, Olga Sánchez Cordero‏, is pushing the president-elect to end the prohibition of cannabis. Last month, the former Supreme Court official said that she would “seek the decriminalization of marijuana for recreational use,” according to a translation of an AFP interview. She added that part of her involvement in the new government would be to “propose to Andrés Manuel” ending the prohibition of marijuana cultivation and recreational use. 

And in new comments on Wednesday, Sánchez Cordero cited moves to legalize marijuana elsewhere as a reason that Mexico shouldn’t wait to act.

“Canada already decriminalized, and [marijuana is] decriminalized in several states of the United States. What are we thinking?” she said in the interview with W Radio. “We are going to try to move forward.”

She also said the incoming administration would consider legalizing the growth of opium poppies to be used in the production of pharmaceutical drugs, adding that the incoming administration will “have a consultation on the decriminalization of drugs.”

“The debate between justice, health and drug trade has never been led by the Mexican state,” Sánchez Cordero recently tweeted. “It has only been criminalized and fought with the hardening of sanctions, bringing mourning to thousands of families.”

“The world war on drugs has failed,” she wrote last month in an op-ed for Milenio. “Nothing contributes to peace by legislating on the basis of more criminal punishment and permanent confrontation. Violence is not fought with violence, as López Obrador rightly points out.”

“Criminalizing -in any case- consumption has not been a factor that diminishes the use of narcotics.”

“The illegal obtaining of drugs creates a personal risk for users and only benefits the criminal networks because their economic and belligerent wealth is fostered… It is known that the United States is the main consumer of drugs in the world; and 23 states of 50 that make it up have [legal] cannabis markets for recreational and medicinal use. Uruguay, Switzerland and New Zealand have successfully taken the first step in opting for legalization through a responsible regulatory context, based on medical, sociological, economic and political evidence.”

(At the time of publication, 30 states in the U.S. had effectively legalized marijuana for at least medical or recreational use, and only Uruguay and Canada have ended the prohibition of cannabis for adults, though many countries allow medical cannabis and have instituted progressive drug policy reforms.)

One of the president-elect’s favorite campaign slogans translates to “hugs, not gunfire,” and is meant to reflect López Obrador’s anti-corruption platform, which includes combating illegal drug market violence.

López Obrador has made clear that he’s interested in an alternative approach to the drug war, proposing amnesty for low-level drug offenders—with a focus on farmers caught cultivating opium poppy and marijuana— and arguing that a softer approach to drug enforcement efforts could be more effective than the status quo, which he believes has failed.

“I will achieve peace, that’s my commitment, I will achieve peace and end the war—we are not going to continue with the same strategy that hasn’t brought us positive results,” López Obrador said at a recent rally. “By the middle of my six-year term, there will be no war, and the situation will be completely different.”

In spite of the president-elect’s grandiose promises, however, he’s declined to answer questions from the press about his personal stance on cannabis policy.

The current status of marijuana in Mexico

Over the course of his six years in office, outgoing Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s position on cannabis policy evolved demonstrably. Two years after the country’s Supreme Court ruled that a group of activists was allowed to grow marijuana because it determined that prohibiting cannabis consumption was unconstitutional, Peña Nieto signed a decree that legalized medical cannabis nationwide. However, legal medical marijuana products are limited to “cannabis derivatives” that contain less than one percent THC.

The decree also mandated that Mexico’s Ministry of Health implement regulatory policies around cannabis and first develop a research program before the government broadens its marijuana laws.

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox has advocated for legalization for years.

“How different it feels to be by the side of business community members who are responsible people and decision makers, rather than being by the side of Chapo Guzman or all those criminals that kill and kill and kill,” Fox said last year, referring to the infamous drug cartel leader.

The recreational marijuana market remains illegal under federal law in Mexico. Whether López Obrado will take steps to expand the country’s medical cannabis system or push for full legalization after he takes office on December 1 is yet to be seen.

Meanwhile, a growing number of U.S. states are ending marijuana prohibition, as is Canada.

These States Are Likely To Legalize Marijuana In 2018

See the original article published on Marijuana Moment below:

Where Mexico’s Next President Stands On Marijuana

What Does Legal Medical Cannabis Mean for Mexico?

What Does Legal Medical Cannabis Mean for Mexico?

This year marks an overwhelmingly significant milestone for Mexico, as the country legalizes medical cannabis. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto made it official by moving forward with a decree that establishes the foundation of therapeutic programs in the region.

Specifically, the vocal leader is taking a slow – but thorough – approach to drafting regulations and policies, which will be facilitated by the Ministry of Health. At a very nascent level, the group will be launching clinical trials to research the plant’s compounds and applications, eventually leading to the creation of local policies that caters to patients seeking alternative, natural forms of medicinal treatment.

President Peña Nieto did not meet much resistance from the Senate and Lower House of Congress. In April, the bill passed, resulting in 371 members in favor and 19 members against the measure. In December, the results were similar, with 98 senators in favor and only seven voting against.

The move to regulate medical cannabis is a positive one. Mexico and its neighbors were previously under pressure for failing to curtail the flow of narcotics entering the United States. Instead of increasing law enforcement funding, nearby countries and regions affected opted to enforce a different plan that focuses on decriminalization.

Surprisingly, the announcement was met with mixed reactions from locals. According to a 2015 poll conducted by El Universal newspaper, more than half of surveyed residents strongly opposed legalizing cannabis. But without an effective solution to the country’s growing illegal trafficking concerns, many individuals have changed their views about legalizing cannabis.

what-legal-medical-cannabis-means-mexico

The implications of legalization in the country are huge. First, local residents will have open access to medical cannabis and pharmacological derivatives of the plant, like CBD oil. This is a double win for Mexico, on the street (reducing crime rates) and in the economy.

From a business perspective, other countries with medical cannabis laws will be able to partner with registered Mexican growers, shops and research companies to improve their products. In the long term, such collaborative movements could also push the prices of medical cannabis products down. The Ministry of Health is tasked to provide regulations surrounding the importation of the plant.

“With medical cannabis fully legal in Canada and now in Mexico, we wonder how long it will be before the United States joins the rest of North America in reforming laws at the national/federal level,”

Medical Marijuana, Inc. CEO Dr. Stuart Titus said,

“With 30 U.S. States approving medical cannabis and 17 others with CBD-only laws, we feel the real crime in this matter is the lack of progressive leadership shown by our own federal government. The science 100% supports this, the people fully support this, and the opioid crisis is totally out of control. We, the people, demand answers from our leaders.”

For now, only cannabis derivatives with low THC (one percent or lower) will be permissible in the country. Though this seems to not include cannabis used for scientific testing. So far, it’s still too early to tell how lax the regulations will be; the ministry intends to roll out more guidelines in the near future, which will help paint a clearer picture of the country’s stance on medical cannabis.

Mexico Approves Medical Marijuana Program

In a sign that Mexico is ready to move on from the drug war, a bill passed on Friday that would create a new medical marijuana program for the nation.

“This is a step in the right direction of exploring new alternatives of regulated, legalized and supervised use, and can open up a new front for authorities to combat addictions and the violence that arises from the illicit activities of drug growing, trafficking and consumption.”

said Rep. Arturo Alvarez of the Green Party.

Over the past several years, Mexico’s government has been approving the cultivation and import of medical marijuana on an individual basis, but the new bill would legalize medical marijuana nationally. According to the bill, smoking marijuana is prohibited, but it orders the Health Department to “design public policies to regulate the medicinal use of this plant and its derivatives.” Cultivation will be allowed, and all manufactured products would be required to contain one percent of THC or less.

The bill has passed the House and Senate, and it’s anticipated that President Enrique Pena Nieto will sign it. He previously opposed legalization, but within the last few years, he’s spoken publicly of the importance of parallel drug policies between Mexico and the United States. Pena Nieto has also attempted to decriminalize marijuana, and has spoken of the importance of treating drug use as a “public health problem.”

Illicit drug use is still a concern in Mexico, a country that has been particularly affected by violence from the illegal drug trade. But Rep. Rosa Alba Ramirez of the small Citizens’ Movement party insisted that “this is not opening the door for a general and unchecked consumption because it includes measures so the health department can ensure it is not being abused or distorted to widen it to recreational use.”

The bill passed 374-7, while 11 abstained.

While drugs are still crossing the border from Mexico to the United States, it’s estimated that marijuana only accounts for 15-26 percent of those drugs. The black market demand for marijuana has decreased with legalization, forcing drug cartels to focus on other substances like cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin, all of which are still in high demand in America.

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