Back in February, prior to the COVID pause, I traveled to Mexico to discuss the future of Mexico’s cannabis policy with top political decision makers alongside HLG international attorney, Luis Armendariz. Mexico is on the brink of cannabis legalization for both marijuana and industrial hemp, and I cannot stress enough how significant of this move. It would, unequivocally, create the world’s largest market for adult use marijuana.
However, we’ve had to temper our excitement as the road to legalization has been long, and is now on pause again. A little background. Back in November, Mexico’s Supreme Court gave Congress until April to approve legislation. Needless to say, April came and went. In the wake of this pandemic, Mexico’s supreme court has again postponed the vote to their next scheduled legislative session, which runs from Sept. 1 to Dec. 15.
A few weeks back, we had CEO of CannabiSalud, Lorena Beltran on The Hoban Minute to discuss the recent extension granted by Mexico’s Supreme Court on forthcoming cannabis legislation. Lorena works closely with Senators and the Congress who are working to pass the cannabis law initiative, and she shed light on some critically important points I’d like to highlight here.
Mexico Cannabis legalization
While it’s certainly unfortunate that the vote has been postponed, legalization has strong support in the Mexican Congress. In the first voting in early March, there were 23 votes in favor versus 10 against. Perhaps one silver lining of COVID, as Lorena points out, is that Mexican lawmakers are identifying cannabis as an opportunity to spur economic growth and help the country recover from this crisis. This realization has changed the order of operations in how legalization may occur in Mexico.
Presently, the first thing the law initiative would set in motion once approved, was licenses for importation, distribution, and sales. A few months later, we’d see licenses for points of sale. And last, licenses to grow. But as Lorena pointed out, in a post-COVID world, it is important for farmers to begin producing cannabis in Mexico, rather than simply relying on importation.
The Mexican government is trying to implement more programs in agriculture and projects in rural communities. As Lorena says, cannabis enables us to “activate agriculture.” Mexico has such a rich history with farming, and cultivating cannabis can be a major force to implement regenerative agriculture. As we’ve talked about before, cannabis is a sustainable, multifaceted plant that allows farmers to provide food, fiber, fuel, and medicine to their community from a single crop. As farmers begin to diversify their crop selection with cannabis, I have no doubt of the significant role it will play in fostering a sustainable agricultural economy for Mexico and across Latin America.
As we wait for the Mexican Congress to reconvene this September, I am confident that we can remobilize the support we saw in early March. The progress that’s already been made in Mexico to redefine cannabis and regulate the plant was the culmination of such hard work by many people for so long, like Lorena. We celebrate their diligence and recognize the frustration of having the momentum put on hold by the COVID pause. But still, there is light. In this pause there is a moment to reconsider what is important. In this case, it’s domestic production. Mexican farmers need this crop, and the potential for economic stimulus across the country, and particularly for rural communities, cannot be ignored. This is all in the backdrop of what is good for the soil, and for the earth beneath our feet. We need this kind of positivity during this time. It might not be tomorrow, but the future is coming, and with it, the black dirt will live again!