Is Weed Legal in Mexico? Marijuana Laws and Regulations


Mexico is one of the countries currently leading the marijuana legalization agenda. For the past several years, there have been heated debates about the need to legalize the production and consumption of this plant fully. However, things are complicated, and it appears that it will take time for Congress to act on the 2021 Supreme Court’s decision to legalize adult use. Let’s discuss the intricacies of Mexican marijuana laws and regulations in more detail.

Historical Overview

Hemp has been actively cultivated in Mexico since the 16th century, when the first Spanish colonizers came to America. The Spanish mostly used hemp for practical purposes, such as the production of textiles and ropes. In contrast, marijuana was widely used by the indigenous population as a drug. It was widely applied in various spiritual rituals requiring people to enter an altered state of consciousness.  

However, the period of unrestricted use ended in the 19th century. It was believed that marijuana consumption was associated with crime, so several prohibitions were issued to protect public safety. In 1920, the country officially banned the production, sale, and recreational use of cannabis. In the 1970s, Mexico even used US help to fight illegal cannabis growers by spraying chemicals on the fields. 

In the 2000s, the situation gradually improved. Mexico permitted the possession of small quantities of marijuana, thus allowing individual users more freedom. In 2015, the Supreme Court voted that banning citizens from cultivating cannabis for personal use was unconstitutional. Two years later, another major change happened, as Congress passed the law allowing for the medical consumption of cannabis. It is also possible to suggest that legal distributors will finally appear, and cannabis lovers will be able to purchase not only weed for smoking but also different types of edibles at dispensaries.

Marijuana to Be Legalized

It may seem that this story has a happy ending, but this is when things get very complicated. In 2018, the Supreme Court ruled for the fifth time that the law prohibiting the recreational use of cannabis was unconstitutional. In this way, while the law prohibiting cannabis was still in effect, the ruling meant that it could no longer be enforced. The Supreme Court mandated that the Mexican government should legalize cannabis, but the passing of the law was postponed several times since then. In this way, Congress has created a loophole in the law and added confusion to already existing regulations on cannabis use.  

If and when the law finally passes, Mexico will become the third country after Canada and Uruguay to fully legalize all cannabis consumption and production aspects. The law will allow adults (18 years and older) to purchase and possess less than 28 grams of cannabis. 

However, there will be certain restrictions, as summarized by Felbab-Brown:

  • Adults will not be allowed smoke in front of their children.
  • Marijuana smoking in public spaces will be prohibited.
  • Possession of 29-200 grams of cannabis will be fined ($500).
  • Possession of more than 200 grams will be punished with imprisonment.
  • Home cultivation of more than eight cannabis plants will also be criminalized.

Thus, the law will allow casual cannabis users to enjoy the plant for recreational and medical purposes while restricting large-scale cannabis production and distribution. 

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How Everything Works in Practice

The above information shows how the law WILL work after it passes Congress, but so far, cannabis users need to be careful. Currently, it is legal to carry no more than five grams of cannabis, so it is recommended to stay within this limit. However, it does not guarantee the absence of problems with the police. Local cops may interpret the law in their own way or even use extortion. 

Therefore, it is better to learn about places where cannabis consumption is relatively safe in advance. It is generally believed that people in upper- and middle-class neighborhoods are rarely arrested for cannabis smoking. 

Purchasing is a tricky business because there are no legal dispensaries. It does not mean that you should go to street dealers, though. Buying cannabis from them is not the best option because they tend to set exorbitant prices. There is a gray market of illegal shops, cafes, spas, etc., where you can purchase high-quality cannabis. The old-school word-of-mouth method is best for finding reliable dealers selling cannabis at reasonable prices.

Taking cannabis with you across the border is a bad idea if you are a tourist. You will likely get searched at the airport, and there is no way you can get past drug-detecting dogs. The golden rule is as follows: smoke it here or over there, but never cross the border with marijuana.

Don’t Cross the Line

As you can see, cannabis consumption in Mexico is possible but not entirely legal. So, always be careful when carrying marijuana or smoking it in public. Before visiting this country, study the existing laws carefully and never take cannabis with you across the border to avoid problems.

The Mazatlan Post