Despite being a noted opponent of cannabis legalization who claims to have never smoked the leafy substance, a decree issued by Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on June 19 signifies the official legalization of cannabis for medical use in Mexico, provided the drug contains one percent of THC or lower.
Back in April, Mexico’s lower house in Parliament passed the momentous bill with an overwhelming vote of 374-7. This followed a similar vote, back in December, from the Mexican has been congenial as far back as 2009, when Mexican lawmakers allowed for the possession of up to five grams of cannabis per person.
According to the decree—which, if you speak Spanish, can read seen here—the Ministry of Health will be in charge of implementing the law’s regulations, including taxation. Officials hope legalization can curtail the nation’s epidemic of drug violence, given marijuana is one of the cartels’ revenue streams.
Before implementing the program, however, the Ministry of Health will study the medicinal and therapeutic effects of cannabis. Likewise, cannabis cultivation for medical and scientific purposes will not be punishable.
The legalization is a long time coming and is something Peña Nieto has been working on for more than a year. “So far, the solutions [to control drugs and crime] implemented by the international community have been frankly insufficient,” Peña Nieto said last April. “We must move beyond prohibition to effective prevention.”
Mexico’s Secretary of Health, Dr. José Narro Robles, publicly endorsed the bill, saying, “I welcome the adoption of the therapeutic use of cannabis in Mexico.” As if it were planned, Former Mexican president Vincent Fox mentioned just last week that he believes Mexico and Canada will soon lead the market for medicinal and recreational pot exports, telling attendees at the National Cannabis Industry Association Convention that he believes Mexico could one day produce 60 percent of the legal marijuana Americans consume, rivaling growers here at home. Fox added that he believes the country is on track to legalize recreational use by 2018, the same year Canada intends on doing so.
Fox, a critic of President Donald Trump, then called for cannabis to be included in international trade agreements like NAFTA, saying, “It has to have the trade potential of moving without barriers, without taxes and limits, only complying with the law, the consumer and his health. And he is willing to consume this product.” His request isn’t a stretch, especially with legalization of the substance becoming more and more commonplace around the globe.