Is Mexico Rethinking Drug Policies?

A nation where bloody drug wars have taken more than 100,000 lives in the past decade, Mexico has a lot to think about when it comes to marijuana reform.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that the United States’ neighbor to the south is taking small steps toward the end of cannabis prohibition via decriminalization. reported in September of last year that Mexican President Enrique Pina Nieto met with California lawmakers and discussed the issue of adult-use legalization in the Golden State. At the time, the vote on legalized marijuana was pending and Pina Nieto wanted to address potential issues surrounding a possible yes vote. The Mexican President has also stated that the United States and Mexico should not have diverging drug policies.

Adult-use marijuana became a reality in California after the Nov. 8 elections. On Dec. 13, the Mexican Senate voted overwhelmingly for the allowance of medical marijuana.

A year earlier in November of 2015, Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled in favor of four plaintiffs to grow and consume cannabis for personal use, but the ruling was limited to only those individuals. Since then, more than 350 people have submitted petitions to cultivate pot.

One of the legalization obstacles in Mexico is the resilience of their organized crime community. As the WSJ noted, even though marijuana cultivation is booming in places like California and elsewhere, Mexico continues to be the main foreign supplier of weed to the U.S. and it sells at much lower prices than American-made cannabis. There are fears from law enforcement in Mexico that decriminalizing cultivation and consumption could open the door for violent criminals to make greater profits in the short term.

Further to those fears, the U.S. DEA said in its annual Drug Threat Assessment last November that Mexican drug gangs are expected to dominate the import of marijuana in the near term.

On the positive side, if legalization in the U.S. continues on its rapid pace, prices of American pot will more than likely decrease and shut out Mexico’s illegal imports which will have a significant effect on organized crime.

There is no timeframe as to when Mexico may finally establish complete marijuana reform, but indicators from the last two years seemingly point in that direction. There are many reasons to make this a reality in Mexico, but none better than the reduction or end of a senseless and bloody drug war.

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