Tag: Mexico

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Former President Of Mexico Says Legalization Will ‘Pull The Rug Out From Under The Cartels’

In late 2018 Mexico’s Supreme Court issued two landmark rulings that collectively overturned the country’s prohibition on cannabis as it pertained to recreational use. The rulings established case law that all judges in Mexico are bound by, however, they did not completely set the nation’s cannabis policies, particularly when it comes to the cannabis industry.

Part of the Court’s decisions back in late 2018 involved Mexico’s federal lawmakers being tasked with passing a measure that would fully implement cannabis legalization and create an adult-use cannabis industry. The Court’s mandate initially involved a one year deadline.

Unfortunately, the deadline was not complied with and a series of extensions have come and gone, yet cannabis advocates in Mexico are still waiting on a measure to be passed. Various lawmakers have hinted that legalization is near, although at this point many cannabis advocates inside and outside of Mexico see those claims as nothing more than pandering.

Former President Vicente Fox is an outspoken advocate for cannabis reform in Mexico, and he recently expressed frustration with how long the process is taking to get a legalization measure passed. He also made a bold claim regarding legalization and Mexico’s drug cartels. Per excerpts from Mexico News Daily:

Former president and marijuana entrepreneur Vicente Fox has urged lawmakers and authorities to legalize and regulate the recreational use of cannabis, asserting that doing so will reduce cartels’ income and create economic opportunities for ordinary Mexicans.

“Sometimes people ask why [former] president Fox is involved in this, if he is a druggie or pothead – a lot of people make jokes,” Fox said. “I’m involved in this because I’m totally convinced that legalizing marijuana is [the way] to pull the rug out from under the cartels.”

How long it will ultimately take for lawmakers in Mexico to pass a legalization measure and for regulators to launch a regulated adult-use industry is anyone’s guess at this point. In fairness, it is worth recognizing that creating a regulated adult-use industry in Mexico is much different compared to many other countries due to the cartel factor.

The industry has to be set up in a way that minimizes the involvement of cartels in the regulated industry, as it’s very logical to assume that cartels will work very hard to gain as much of Mexico’s legal market as possible. If that proves to be the case it will be very unfortunate. Mexico not only needs to legalize cannabis, it also has to legalize the right way.


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Cannabis Smuggling Continues To Decline Along US/Mexico Border

Cannabis advocates have long pointed out that when cannabis is prohibited, people still consume it. That may seem obvious, however, cannabis prohibitionists try very hard to pretend that it’s not the case.

Under prohibition, cartels largely control cannabis sales. That is not to say that every single piece of cannabis is cartel controlled. Surely there are people cultivating small amounts where cannabis is prohibited and presumably some of them are selling it to other people.

In a regulated cannabis system, many consumers and patients will gladly make their purchases at licensed outlets, even if it is a little more expensive compared to unregulated sources.

That is on full display along the border shared by the United States and Mexico where cannabis seizures continue to decline year after year as legalization continues to spread north of the border. Below is more information about the latest numbers via a news release from NORML:

Washington, DC: Federal officials report a significant drop in the quantity of marijuana they are seizing at the US international border, according to data compiled by the US Department of Homeland Security.

According to reporting provided by, “Department of Homeland Security agencies in FY2021 seized 160 tons of marijuana, an average of 874 pounds a day. With three months left in the current fiscal year, agents have seized 56 tons, an average of 408 pounds a day.”

The year-over-year decline in marijuana-related seizures at the border is in stark contrast to more generalized data showing a 25 percent increase in overall drug-related seizures. However, it is consistent with longstanding trends previously reported by the US Drug Enforcement Administration that determined, “In US markets, Mexican marijuana has largely been supplanted by domestic-produced marijuana.”

Separate data provided earlier this year by the US Government Accounting Office reported that “most drug seizure events [at the US border] involved only US citizens (91 percent), of which 75 percent involved the seizure of marijuana and no other drugs.” Of those seizures, 69 percent involved only personal use quantities of cannabis.

Additional information on drug-related border seizures is available from the US Customs and Border Protection agency.

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Limited U.S. Legalization Continues To Hurt Cartels In Mexico

Historically, the United States has served as the largest cannabis market on earth, and for many decades that market was completely illegal. These days, medical and/or adult-use cannabis dispensaries are located in a growing number of states, although cannabis still remains illegal at the federal level. The rising number of state-legal outlets in the U.S. is having a direct, negative impact on cartels in Mexico according to a new report from U.S. Congressional researchers.

Throughout prohibition in the U.S. cannabis smuggled into the country from Mexico largely supplied the unregulated U.S. market. Having lived my entire life on the West Coast of the U.S., and consuming cannabis for nearly 3 decades now, I can personally attest that ‘brickweed’ from Mexico was once very common around here. That is no longer the case.

The Rise Of Safe Access

Cartels in Mexico benefitted greatly from cannabis prohibition in the United States. The cannabis that they smuggled into the United States was awful and was presumably contaminated with all kinds of nasty stuff. Unfortunately, for many consumers and patients, it was all that was available. That started to change drastically in 1996 when California became the first state to legalize cannabis for medical use in the U.S.

Once California passed a medical cannabis measure, it opened the floodgates to other states following suit, almost all of which created safe, legal access to cannabis in some manner. Every dispensary and delivery service that opened up at the state level, especially in the Western United States, diverted money to state-licensed cannabis outlets that would have otherwise likely gone to cartel operations.

The shift in consumer purchasing habits further accelerated in 2014 when Colorado and Washington State launched adult-use cannabis sales. With state medical programs, patients had to be registered in order to frequent dispensaries. Now that consumers of legal age from all over the country (and the world for that matter) can make legal purchases of regulated products through licensed outlets there’s literally no good reason for people to ever purchase cartel cannabis ever again, hence the drop in cannabis revenue for cartels.

Proof Of Concept

Many valid reasons exist regarding why cannabis should be legalized, with a popular one being to defund cartels. Cartels have caused so much misery over so many years, and any dollar that can be prevented from going their way is always a good thing. Legalization in the United States is proving to be extremely successful on that front, as demonstrated by the latest Congressional report.

Cartels still smuggle cannabis into the U.S., and still set up illegal grows on public lands in the U.S. However, that business model is becoming less viable with every passing year as consumers continue to migrate towards legal options. Imagine when cannabis is legal nationwide in the United States. Obviously, once all consumers and patients in every state can go the legal route, there will be no room for cartel cannabis in the country, assuming that regulations are sensible and prices are at least somewhat competitive.

Just as legalization will continue to succeed in the United States, so too will it succeed elsewhere, and in the process, eliminate cartel cannabis worldwide. When cannabis is illegal, cartels will fill the void. After all, consumers and patients don’t refrain from consuming cannabis just because it is illegal. They will continue to seek out sources for cannabis, and cartels will always be willing to meet the demand. The more that the legal cannabis industry is allowed to operate the more it can directly address the cartel cannabis issue, and when that happens, everyone wins (except for the cartels).

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cannabis plant garden

Social Organizations Receive Medical Cannabis Cultivation Licenses In Mexico

The road towards adult-use cannabis legalization in Mexico has been full of twists, turns, detours, and in some cases dead ends. In late 2018 Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled that cannabis prohibition as it pertained to personal use was unconstitutional. Since that time lawmakers have tried, and failed, to pass a Court-mandated measure to establish an adult-use industry in Mexico.

Meanwhile, Mexico’s emerging medical cannabis program and industry have moved along in the shadows of adult-use reform. As is the case in every country, there are countless suffering patients in Mexico that can benefit from safe access to medical cannabis.

Fortunately for patients in the Oaxaca area, medical cannabis cultivation licenses were issued to over two-dozen community entities that will further boost safe access in the region. Per Politico MX (translated from Spanish to English):

In Oaxaca, 26 social organizations belonging to Oaxacan communities received permits from the Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risks ( Cofepris ) for the management, selection and cultivation of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Among the benefited places are San Dionisio Ocotepec and San Pablo Guilá , who from now on will be able to process cannabis for the production of products whose objectives are to help different medical treatments.

Horacio Sosa Villavicencio, a deputy from Morena, indicated that it was not an easy road, but that thanks to the community organization and the solidarity that exists in the native peoples governed under the regime of uses and customs, it was possible to achieve these authorizations.

Oaxaca has made international headlines multiple times in recent weeks. As we previously reported, city officials in Oaxaca recently issued a directive to local police to leave cannabis consumers alone, even when they are consuming cannabis in public spaces.

Safe access to medical cannabis is extremely important, as is the ability to safely consume medical cannabis after it is legally acquired. For many patients, finding a place to consume cannabis can be tricky.

With that in mind, it’s a great thing to know that if a patient in Oaxaca has to consume cannabis outside of a private residence for whatever reason, they will be able to do so without being persecuted.

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mexico united states border

Decline In Cannabis Smuggling From Mexico Demonstrates Legalization’s Success In U.S.

I first started consuming cannabis back in 1993. It was a simpler time in many ways, especially when it came to acquiring cannabis. These days where I live in the United States (Oregon) cannabis dispensaries are scattered all over every major city and all it takes is cash and an ID showing that you are of legal age and you can buy any number of cannabis products that your heart desires.

It wasn’t that way back in 1993. Not even close. Oregon, as I am always proud to point out, was the first state to decriminalize personal possession of cannabis in the entire United States back in the early 1970s. However, that policy was only helpful if you got caught with cannabis – it didn’t help address how to obtain cannabis.

Back when I first started consuming cannabis it was fairly hard to find, at least consistently, even here in Oregon. To put the era into perspective, this was three years prior to California legalizing cannabis for medical use, and five years prior to Oregon doing so. It was over 20 years before cannabis became legal for adult use in Oregon. In the early 1990s, a lot of what was available in my area originated from Mexico.

The cannabis from Mexico, almost always in brick form, was notoriously terrible and had more seeds and stems in it than you could ever imagine. It had many nicknames: bammer, brickweed, budget, and ‘Charlie Brown’ to name a handful. Regardless of what people called it, it was never their first choice, but we made it work because we had to.

Cannabis from Mexico was much easier to find compared to higher-quality, homegrown cannabis at the time, which was before my area started to get flooded with much better cannabis from Canada. Cannabis from Mexico was also cheap. Unbelievably cheap, which was its main selling point other than the fact that it was available.

Whereas 3.5 grams of quality cannabis generally cost $50 at the time, I was able to get a quarter pound of Mexican brickweed for $40. As I often tell people now while reflecting back on those days, you made the most of what you could get.

Zoom back to the present day, and I can’t even find brickweed. Even if I asked every person I knew in Oregon, I doubt I would be able to find any of it at all. It’s not exactly rocket science as to determining why that is. Legal cannabis is easy to acquire in Oregon, which is true of a growing list of states in the U.S.

With that in mind, it’s not exactly a coincidence that the amount of cannabis being smuggled from Mexico into the United States is reducing with every passing year. It’s a mathematical fact that consumer demand for cannabis is shifting toward a regulated market in the U.S. and away from the unregulated market. Below is what the DEA had to say about cannabis and Mexico in its recent budget document:

Mexico remains the most significant foreign source for marijuana in the United States; however, in U.S. markets, Mexican marijuana has largely been supplanted by domestic produced marijuana. Marijuana remains illegal under Federal law and is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States. The national landscape continues to evolve as states enact voter referenda and legislation regarding the possession, use, and cultivation of marijuana and its associated products.

In other words, cannabis reform in the United States has resulted in exponential growth in domestic cannabis production and that supply continues to supplant the supply of unregulated cannabis from Mexico. As cannabis reform continues to spread, “the national landscape continues to evolve” as the DEA said, and that means that the trend we have seen in recent years will continue. That is good news for job seekers, public coffers, and public safety-related resources.

The fact of the matter is that regulation works. That is not to say that current regulations in the United States, or anywhere else for that matter, are perfect because they are not. However, sensible legalization and regulation are better than prohibition, and a legalized industry benefits all of society whereas letting cartels control the unregulated cannabis industry only benefits the cartels.

I can’t imagine a day when the DEA will flat out say that legalization works. I doubt it will ever happen. The DEA and other entities like it around the globe will cling to prohibition talking points until the bitter end. With that being said, you have to assume that the DEA reps responsible for the budget document were squirming when they came up with the wording found earlier in this article since there is no way to sugarcoat the fact that prohibitionists are losing, and thankfully, compassion and sensible public policy are winning.


oaxaca mexico

Oaxaca Moves To Allow Responsible Cannabis Use In Public Spaces

Mexico has been on the cusp of full adult-use legalization for multiple years now. In October 2018 Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled that cannabis prohibition as it applied to personal use was unconstitutional. Since that time lawmakers have tried and failed to pass a measure to completely legalize cannabis for adult use and create a legal, national adult-use market.

City officials in Oaxaca have apparently taken matters into their own hands and issued a directive to local police to leave cannabis consumers alone, even when they are consuming cannabis in public spaces. Per Mexico News Daily:

The use of marijuana for recreational purposes has not yet been legalized in Mexico, but pot smokers can find an oasis in Oaxaca city.

The city government has advised police not to bother people smoking weed in public places in the state capital.

In an official letter directed to members of the Plantón 4:20 – pro-marijuana protesters who have occupied the El Llano park in recent months – and cannabis consumers in general, the city government reiterated its commitment to respecting human rights and noted that there is no municipal law that expressly prohibits the “personal responsible consumption of cannabis in public spaces.”

Below is the full letter, via the embedded tweet below:

This is great news for cannabis consumers in Oaxaca. Hopefully it becomes a standard policy throughout Mexico, and beyond.

Mexico, oaxaca

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Mexico May Model Cannabis Industry Regulations After Canada And Colombia

Lawmakers in Mexico continue to work on an adult-use cannabis legalization measure after previous attempts in recent years have failed. In October 2018 Mexico’s Supreme Court determined that cannabis prohibition was unconstitutional as it applied to private adult cannabis use.

Since the initial decision lawmakers in Mexico have tried to comply with a mandate from the Court that was part of the ruling which called for lawmakers to pass a measure to create a regulated adult-use cannabis industry. Several deadlines have come and gone, and provisions of a potential measure have evolved over time.

Details recently surfaced regarding what the latest framework for a regulated industry may look like in Mexico. Per El Universal (translated to English):

The Senate analyzes an initiative by legislators from Morena that seeks to replicate the current model and legal framework for cannabis that exists in Canada and Colombia, through safe and informed access for consumers, protecting public health and safety, especially of young people and children, but also trigger business opportunities and even the export of plants, seeds, flowers and derivatives.

The initiative that issues the General Law for the Regulation of Cannabis, and in which various provisions of the General Health Law and the Federal Criminal Code are reformed and added, argues that in recent years at least eight Latin American countries have approved reforms that allow the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes, which has triggered business opportunities and even export various products and derivatives.

One has to assume that adult-use regulations will largely be modeled after Canada and medical regulations will possibly be modeled after Colombia, or a combination of Canada and Colombia’s medical cannabis policies.

Cannabis is legal for adult use in Canada, however, cannabis is only legal for medical purposes in Colombia currently.

It’s interesting that Uruguay’s industry model was not mentioned as being part of the proposed initiative provisions being circulated in Mexico. Uruguay’s club and pharmacy model differs greatly compared to Canada’s model which allows cannabis sales via more options, including storefronts and through online orders.



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Will Lawmakers In Mexico Finally Pass Cannabis Legalization This Session?

The path towards adult-use legalization in Mexico has proven to be long and full of twists and turns. For many years Mexico prohibited cannabis in all forms, however, in 2017 it finally legalized cannabis for medical use to some extent.

That following year, in 2018, Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled that cannabis prohibition as it pertains to personal use was unconstitutional. It was a landmark ruling that was celebrated at the time around the world. Similar decisions were also handed down in South Africa and Italy.

In Mexico specifically, the Court tasked lawmakers with passing legislation to fully implement the Court’s decision and initially gave a one-year deadline. Lawmakers requested an extension and were granted one that expired in April 2020.

Due to the onset of the pandemic, lawmakers requested another deadline. And then another. As it stands right now, it’s anyone’s guess as to when Mexico will finally get a legalization bill to the finish line.

With a new session starting next month, international cannabis enthusiasts are hopeful that a bill will finally be passed this time around. Per Politico (translated from Spanish):

Proposals have been submitted; however, these have not prospered due to the lack of consensus on the subject. In this sense, it is expected that in the next ordinary period, which begins on February 1, the parliamentary groups that have a presence in the Senate will begin with the analysis of the issue.

Parts of Mexico are developed and full of economic opportunity, however, much of the country lives in poverty. It is no secret that Mexico has been ravaged by the War on Drugs, and that cannabis prohibition fueled the issue to some extent. Creating a regulated adult-use industry will do a lot to help Mexico’s citizens.

The desire to legalize cannabis for adult use in Mexico is strong among lawmakers, and it’s not a question of if Mexico will pass a bill, it’s a question of when? Lawmakers in Mexico have argued over provisions of a regulated industry for far too long. Hopefully this session proves to be the one that yields a successful, fair, and equitable legalization measure.


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