Mexico Senate Approves Marijuana Measure
Mexico’s full senate has given approval to legislation that would make their state the 16th in the U.S. to legalize marijuana for all uses for those 21 and older. The passage of the measure makes a multi-year push by proponents of marijuana law reform to get a measure through the country’s Senate: On several occasions it has been passed out of its initial committee only to later stall.
The measure will now go to the country’s lower chamber of congress, where passage would send it to the president for final approval.
The senate’s passage of the measure comes roughly two years after the country’s Supreme Court ruled that laws prohibiting marijuana for recreational use are unconstitutional: The court ordered legislative change.
The measure specifically would allow those 21 and older to possess up to 28 grams (one ounce) of marijuana, and would allow them to grow a few plants for personal use.
Despite many praising the measure, some activists have express concerns.
For example, Julio Salazar, a senior lawyer with the nonprofit Mexico United Against Crime, says the bill is flawed: He notes that it favors large corporations over small businesses and family farmers, favoring large corporations over small businesses and family farms. He also says that the measure would do little to combat the country’s drug cartels who profit heavily off of marijuana.
“I’m not sure if the initiative being pushed by Congress actually makes things better,” said Salazar before the vote “It makes a cannabis market for the rich and continues to use criminal law to perpetuate a drug war that has damaged the poorest people with the least opportunities.”
As noted by High Times, “The bill would allow private companies to sell cannabis to the public, but consumers would be required to register for a government license to purchase cannabis, a provision many say would perpetuate the popularity of the country’s illicit market. Another requirement for a track-and-trace system similar to one established in California is seen by many as unworkable in a largely rural nation.”
“The legislation being pushed took the worst parts of all the different models,” Salazar said. “They took the consumer registry from Uruguay that is excessive. They included the traceability requirement from the United States, which makes sense over there because regulation is local but not in Mexico where it would be federal. And we also copied the lack of reparations to help indigenous communities or those most affected by the war on drugs.”
Zara Snapp, co-founder of the RIA Institute, believes that bill will exclude small businesses.
“We want a legal framework that can bring some of these players in from the illegal market into a legal one,” Snapp said. “The purchase price needs to be low enough to undercut the illegal market for consumers.. You also have to make sure there are enough entry points for [growers] to move over.”
Mexico’s Supreme Court has set a December 15 deadline for lawmakers to legalize marijuana.