The History Of Cannabis Legalization In Mexico

We’ve seen nations all over the globe take significant steps towards ending marijuana prohibition. North America, in particular, has taken great strides, with full-blown legal cannabis markets forming in Canada and parts of the United States. But what about the southernmost part of the continent? At one point, Mexico was one of the biggest importers of cannabis into the United States, but how have the past few decades of legalization efforts affected the country? 

Mexican Cannabis Legalization Efforts 

The History Of Cannabis Legalization In Mexico

We first started to see the Mexican government make notable progress towards ending cannabis prohibition in 2009. While under the administration of President Felipe Calderón, the Mexican government made the bold decision to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana. The law meant that citizens of the country could carry up to five grams of cannabis without worrying about the fear of arrest. According to Calderón, law enforcement’s resources were better spent pursuing drug traffickers. 

During the following decade, the Mexican Supreme Court passed down a series of rulings determining that cannabis prohibition was unconstitutional and violated citizens’ human rights. In Mexican law, if the Supreme Court makes the same ruling five times, it sets a national precedent. This court’s fifth ruling on prohibition landed in 2018, which on paper legalized cannabis.

However, it’s up to the legislative branch to create the laws that will formally end prohibition. In June of this year, after lawmakers missed multiple deadlines assigned by the court to create this legislation, the courts took matters into their own hands by voting to legalize marijuana.

Is Cannabis Legal In Mexico? 

Is Cannabis Legal In Mexico?

In a technical sense, cannabis is legal in Mexico. That being said, a lot of details regarding what recreational cannabis will look like in the country are still up in the air. So far, no regulations have been announced, nor plans for recreational markets. The country's lawmakers continue to stall, and unlike in the United States, a Supreme Court ruling in Mexico doesn’t invalidate previous laws. 

Can You Bring Medical Cannabis Into Mexico From the USA? 

Do not bring medical cannabis to mexico

Despite the court’s ruling, it’s still quite dangerous to bring any form of cannabis, recreational or medicinal, across the border. Even if you enter from a state like California that has legalized marijuana; you run the risk of getting booked for international drug smuggling. So if you were wondering, can I take edibles on the airplane to Mexico? You probably shouldn’t. 

Can Americans Own A Cannabis Business In Mexico? 

Nothing in Mexico’s tax code prevents foreigners from opening up a business inside the country. However, nobody in Mexico can open a recreational marijuana business until lawmakers formalize legalization and create the necessary regulatory infrastructure that will govern the market.

Medical marijuana and CBD companies, on the other hand, are legal to operate regardless of nationality, so long as they follow the country’s laws and regulations. Many foreign investors have already started these kinds of businesses in Mexico in order to secure a foothold when the recreational market inevitably opens up.

The Future Of Cannabis In Mexico  

The Future Of Cannabis In Mexico

It’s unclear what the future will hold for the cannabis industry in Mexico. Despite overwhelming pressure from the citizens and court system, lawmakers have consistently dragged their feet when it comes to implementing practical cannabis reforms. 

While legislators continue to debate the specifics of cannabis legalization, many marijuana advocates have called for lawmakers to speed up the process, regardless of whether the initial bill is perfect or not. 

By the looks of things, there will be a recreational cannabis market in Mexico eventually. The real question is when?

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