MEXICO IS A POTENTIAL GIANT IN LEGAL MARIJUANA PRODUCTION

Mexico was the second country with the highest amount of cannabis herb seized in 2016, according to the latest figures available. A possible legalization would open the door to a million dollar activity.

Mexico plans to open up to the legal market of marijuana – for recreational, medical and commercial purposes – which already leaves millions in the United States and Canada, and which would attract significant foreign investment.

Last week, Olga Sánchez Cordero, Senator of Morena and next secretary of the Interior, presented the General Law for the Regulation and Control of Cannabis, which plans to establish a model of strict legal regulation of cannabis, from its sowing until its sale and commercialization. The initiative must still be approved, but it would open the door to a millionaire market and would mean the end of the prohibitionist policy that has governed for decades.

“We are arriving late, but it is important that we realize that it is an opportunity of enormous relevance for Mexico and the world. We are laying the foundations for a decriminalization of human rights, and we are a key country in the drug trafficking network created by an absurd prohibitionist policy, “says Alejandro Madrazo, a CIDE drug specialist, who adds that the country has the bases to build an industry from scratch and avoid monopolies.

The potential market is large: around 7.3 million Mexicans aged 12 to 65 years smoked marijuana more than once during 2016, according to the National Survey of Drug, Alcohol and Tobacco Consumption conducted by the Ministry of Health.

On the other hand, the World Drugs Report 2018, prepared by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), highlights that Mexico is the second country with the highest amount of cannabis herb seized in Mexico. everyone in 2016, according to the latest figures available, with 841 tons (18% of all cannabis herb seized in the world), after the United States, with 978 tons (21%).

“Although in 2016 there were increases in domestic cannabis cultivation in the United States, Mexico remained the most important foreign source of cannabis herb,” the document said.

The total area of marijuana cultivation in Mexico is 114,360 hectares, with Sinaloa as the largest producer, with 36% of the total, followed by Chihuahua, with 19.5%, and Durango, with 16.4%, according to the document of ‘El drug cultivation map in Mexico ‘published by the UAM.

Market opportunity

Last week, the Federal Commission for the Protection of Health Risks (Cofepris) issued a framework for the government of Mexico to form a licensed cannabis market for residents in the country. It is a great opportunity for international companies such as the Canadian Khiron Life Science, which has spent time studying the marijuana market in Mexico.

“With the announcement (from Cofepris) we are gradually seeing the step towards a much-needed framework for legalized cannabis in Mexico. This is something I have defended for a long time: it is good for business, for the health sector and, most importantly, for the social fabric of our country, “said Vicente Fox, former president of Mexico and member of the board of Khiron.

The medical marijuana market has a potential value of $ 2 billion over the next 10 years, according to KPMG estimates.

Emma Rodríguez, of the student association For a Sensible drug policy in Mexico, says that these guidelines of the Cofepris intend to open the door to consolidated companies in other countries, without taking into account the niche of businesses that can grow internally.

“That’s why I think we should have a state monopoly, which can then be fragmented and privatized. But if we start with a commercial market, it is likely that in a short time we will have a very powerful industry capable of capturing the regulator and that would be very serious, not only for marijuana, but for the effort to regulate and improve drug policy in general, “says Madrazo. He also emphasized that it is important to formalize the farmers and distributors who work in the illicit market.

Source: expansion 

The Mazatlan Post