Mexico due to Legalize the World’s Largest Cannabis Market

Soft Secrets
09 Dec 2020

As Mexican lawmakers proceed to make final calls on the legality of marijuana in the state, the country will be set to grow into the biggest cannabis market on the planet.

Later this December, we’ll know if Mexico proceeds to legalize cannabis, a move that will sandwich the U.S. between two countries that have effectively legalized their cannabis markets.  In November, just days before Thanksgiving, Mexico’s Senate ‘blessed’ a landmark cannabis legalization, “paving the way for the creation of the world’s largest legal marijuana market if the initiative passes the next hurdle in the lower house of Congress,” Reuters wrote. During the vote, an overwhelming majority of 82 voters against 18 who disapproved of the measure, and seven who abstained, moved the bill up the pipeline in Mexico’s legal system.  Mexican lawmakers are now in a hurry “to secure final approval before the end of the current congressional session in December. If enacted, the reform would mark a major shift in a country where drug cartel violence in recent years has claimed over 100,000 lives,” wrote Reuters.  Already in 2018, Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled that recreational cannabis should be made legal at times when the country had already wheeled a legal framework on medical marijuana. By the summer of 2021, legal medical cannabis cultivation and production should readily begin in Mexico. If, in addition, the country also pursues the opportunity to legalize adult-use as well, it will take at least 18 months until the new laws are fully enacted. Mexico legalizing cannabis If Mexico proceeds to decriminalize weed entirely, it may leave the U.S. a lonely player in the region. (Unless we hurry up and introduce a federal bill). Cannada has already made the switch a couple of years ago. The Canadian government’s investiture in the cannabis market has “created a viable international marketplace” and has “effectively mobilized the global cannabis industry,” recently wrote Robert Hoban for Forbes. “At first, you might think none of this matters as the U.S. has legalized adult-use marijuana program state-by-state. While this dispensary model still violates federal law, it has gained bipartisan support from American politicians to prevent the DOJ [Department of Justice] from interfering with legal, state marijuana businesses. But the issue is much larger,” Hoban wrote.  Should Mexico pass its bill to legalize adult-use of cannabis nationwide, it will effectively become the world's largest country to have done so. After Uruguay and Canada, Mexico will become the third country in the world to decriminalize cannabis entirely. Once there’s a completed legal framework, it will open the doors to the world’s largest consumer market for cannabis products, benefiting 126 million Mexicans, and will undoubtedly send a ripple effect worldwide.  Mexico legalizing cannabis While it’s unclear what effect such a legislature will have on Mexico’s thriving drug cartels, which are at the heart of the country’s organized crime and violence, experts believe that, soon, it could be possible for Mexico-based cannabis companies to send legal exports to countries such as the U.S. and Canada. Potential investors in the sector will still need some time to get acquainted with the pending legislation's details and look at how the industry will be regulated institutionally. After they get to know the regulatory framework and assess political and financial risks, they will eventually settle in the country’s budding industry. Nothing will happen overnight, however. Mexico is still due to publish its medical regulations at the end of 2020 after being put on hold since 2017. Then, come the big bites. Lawmakers across the country will need to define and launch the Mexican Institute for Cannabis Regulation and Control, which should start its operation six months after the law is enacted. Simultaneously, the public sector should obtain training and education on how to regulate the nascent industry. While the task is enormous, especially in terms of logistics, Mexico is currently walking the right path towards a grander national achievement. If all goes well, the medical cannabis market will open up in Mexico next summer, and recreational cannabis will follow suit as early as 2022. Will the U.S. legalize adult-use nationwide until then?
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