Mexico, one step away from ending the prohibition of marijuana

It’s time to change the laws.

The end of the ban is near. As of Friday, February 22, the absolute prohibition of marijuana in Mexico was declared unconstitutional , recognizing Mexicans’ right to consume marijuana, as well as carrying out all activities related to self-consumption, from sowing and preparing, to transport. With the theses published in the Judicial Weekly of the Federation – result of the five cases of amparo that led to the jurisprudence -, the Congress is obliged to reform the laws so that they go according to the resolution of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation.

The battle to free this plant has been long. For more than a decade, the Mexican cannabis movement grew in the shadow of the spotlight, organizing independent marches and informational events to disseminate information related to the mote. It was not until 2015 that marijuana in Mexico reached a legal and media level thanks to three cases that questioned the way in which Mexican laws address cannabis.

In August of that year, the magazine Cáñamo received an opinion from SEGOB to present evidence to defend its publication, since it could be considered illegal for supposedly immoral content. In September, Grace Elizalde became the first person in Mexico to receive an injunction to import a cannabis-based treatment . And in November of the same year, the SCJN resolved in favor of the SMART collective the first case of amparo to consume marijuana in a personal way . From that moment, marijuana went from a street plan to a legal one, health, and human rights. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Behind these stories, a community made up of thousands of people watched impatiently from their homes, working from their homes and neighborhoods to turn cannabis into a culture. More and more people decided to give their faces and began to emerge cannabis events , forums dedicated to marijuana where you could not smoke but where this secret community began to know each other’s faces. They followed the clandestine workshops , small private meetings where the assistants were taught to grow marijuana to stop resorting to the black market, and to prepare medicinal oils from the plant. Finally, in 2018, the first Cannabis Cup was held in Mexico, a professional event where growers from all over the country competed to present the best marijuana in front of an international jury.

Economic interests came hand in hand with the rights. After the protection granted to Grace to import a cannabis treatment, many patients saw in the plant a possible medicine for various diseases. In the same way, various entrepreneurs, both Mexican and foreign, saw in this shelter the opportunity to venture into one of the branches of medicine that promises greater economic growth in the coming years. While some people continued to push legislation to facilitate importation , there were also those who decided to take the path of self-cultivation to obtain their own medicine.

Also, while marijuana gained ground in the Supreme Court – through various amparos imposed by cannabis activists – groups of Mexican producers began to professionalize their products to take them to international levels and compete when it is finally legal: the first pack of Cannabis , some growers began to perform chromatographies to ensure the quality of their crops, small entrepreneurs began distributing their own medicinal drops or THC cartridges to vaporize. At the end of 2018 , the Cannabis Industry Association was created in Mexico to defend the interests of the national industry. And in early 2019 growers from different statesThey united to form the Mexican Federation of Cultivators and Extractors , to make a united front that represents the interests of the producers.

Given this scenario, it is urgent to regulate. What began as a common goal – the liberation of a plant with personal, medical and economic benefits – becomes little by little a battle to get the best part. While international consortiums negotiate their entry into the country , Mexican producers are preparing to not be left behind. And although some patients already import the medicines they need, others still struggle because self-cultivation is allowed as a way to access this medicine.

The prohibitionist policy failed : it generated an increase in violence and left consumers as one of the weakest links in the chain. And although regulating marijuana does not suddenly solve the country’s deep problems-those related to violence, corruption and impunity-it can create the rules to protect all parties. And more importantly, create a space of coexistence where all those interested in marijuana can benefit from the plant, both producers, consumers and patients.

In order to carry out responsible regulation, the participation of civil society, private initiative and the State is needed. And after years of perseverance and intense legal battles, it is the turn of Congress, where there is already an initiative presented by the Secretary of the Interior, Olga Sánchez Cordero, which contemplates the personal, medical and commercial aspect. With the resolutions published last week, Congress is obliged to regulate. If this were achieved, Mexico would not only be ending the unsustainable prohibition of a plant, but would be setting an example worldwide, as it is one of the first countries to regulate at the federal level, and for having done so based on laws, health , and human rights.

Source: Vice

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