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Mexico: Cannabis May be Legalized This Legislative Session

A top senator said there was an agreement among Mexico’s decision-makers to prioritize cannabis legalization
10 November 2021
2 min read
Mexico: Cannabis May be Legalized This Legislative Session

According to Mexico’s Senate Majority Leader, key parties are determined to finally adopt the measure that would establish a regulated marijuana market in the country. Ricardo Monreal Avila informed his Twitter subscribers on Monday that cannabis reform will be among the top priorities for lawmakers in this session.

In 2018, the country’s Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to deny adults the right to consume and possess cannabis, as well as cultivate a small number of plants for personal needs. The court decision also obligated the legislative bodies to enact relevant laws, but all previous attempts to do so have failed due to the lack of consensus.

Three More Years on Top of the Century-Long Prohibition

The Supreme Court specified the deadline for the lawmakers to draft and pass a bill that would create a working regulation and taxation system for cannabis. However, it had to agree on extending the deadline on several occasions.

Although the initiative to legalize the substance enjoys wide support among Mexico’s political class, they have yet to agree on a law that would satisfy everyone. There have been calls to pass a bill that would declare cannabis legal and later amend it with additional bills that would draft the outlines of the future market and taxation framework.

Mexico: Cannabis May be Legalized This Legislative Session: Ricardo Monreal Ávila

Ricardo Monreal Avila, Senate Majority Leader

However, most lawmakers seem to be set on passing a law that would be free from internal contradictions and allow the creation of a working market environment and not legal chaos. And after years of delay in the Parliament, justices decided to take the matter into their own hands and voted to decriminalize cannabis last June.

This Time Will be Different

Monreal thinks that this time the Chamber of Deputies is finally ready to agree on each point in the draft. Among the last issues to be clarified is a special tax on cannabis—similar to alcohol, beer, and cigarettes—that would fill the government’s coffers with almost $1 billion annually.

Mexico: Cannabis May be Legalized This Legislative Session: Activists marching with little marijuana plants and a banner

Marihuana reform has wide popular support in Mexico.

Cannabis activists also keep pushing for the clauses that would prioritize entrepreneurs from communities most severely hit by the war on drugs. They fear that otherwise the sector would be dominated by the behemoths of tobacco and pharmaceutical industries. They also aren’t happy with the way the new bill imposes harsher sentences for trafficking cannabis outside the regulated legal market.

However, all parties recognize the need to pass the law, even if it isn’t perfect. Senate President Olga Sánchez Cordero stressed that it was important to finally pass the legislation in the coming weeks or months.


10 November 2021