Mexico’s cannabis reforms

Mexico aims to further liberalise their laws surrounding the use and ownership of cannabis

Photo by Deborah Bonello for The Times.

— 2 minute read — By Joshua Allen

Mexico is set to legalise the production of cannabis for recreational, industrial, and medical uses, joining a small number of countries that currently allow recreational use of the drug.

The Chamber approved the legalisation of cannabis on 18th March, with later modifications authorised by the Senate. However, the law was initially mandated by the Supreme Court in 2018, who found that the criminalisation of cannabis was against the constitutional rights of the Mexican people. There are a few issues with this policy change, though; the Supreme Court has still not passed the law to enforce the ruling, and they simultaneously keep extending the legal deadline to pass the legislation. In addition to this, it is rumoured that Mexico’s president, Andrés Manuel López, is not a huge supporter of its legalisation, but it is likely that he will sign off on the law regardless.

Major concerns have also been voiced by Human Rights Watch regarding the police’s possible enforcement of the law. They believe that the Mexican police force’s patchy history with brutality whilst arresting suspected criminals leaves the enforcement of the law wide open for further corruption and abuse.

Mexico’s legal reformation history with cannabis started in 2009, when it was decriminalised – alongside other drugs – in order to reduce illicit activity. The Supreme Court also permitted people to grow cannabis plants in 2015, and in 2017 medicinal products with under 1% THC were allowed.

This new law details that anyone over the age of 18 will be able to purchase and possess under 28 grams of cannabis. A possession higher than this, but under 200 grams, is punished with a $500 fine. Over 200 grams, however, is punishable with up to six years in prison.

Mexico has numerous reasons to legalise cannabis, with the hopes that it will help create a large amount of revenue for the government and provide a legal income for those in poor social conditions. It is also projected to decrease criminality and prison populations. This argument has been made worldwide by those living in countries who still criminalise cannabis, however, whether these new laws will have the desired impact in Mexico remains to be seen as the law is still yet to fully pass.