Produce, buy and consume marijuana in Mexico will be legal in a short time. Morena, the party of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, president-elect, presented on Thursday a bill in the Senate that regulates the production, sale and consumption of cannabis. Majority force in Congress, Brunette should not have too many problems to approve. Experts consulted by EL PAÍS estimate that legislators will take a few months to move forward with the norm, which could take shape in mid-2019.
The General Law for the Regulation and Control of Cannabis was born as a response to prohibitionist policies, prevailing in the region for decades. In Mexico, the production and illegal trafficking of marijuana are an essential part of the conflict between the government and the mafias of criminals and among the criminals themselves. Tens of thousands of people have died in recent years in the country and others have disappeared, as a result of the so-called drug war. Eliminated marijuana from the list of substances pursued in Mexico, the next government hopes to lower crime rates.
Olga Sánchez Cordero, future secretary of the Interior [equivalente a ministra del Interior] López Obrador, was responsible for presenting the project in the Senate. "We have to rethink the drug policy in our country. It is time to change, because they have always been a controversial speech. The frontal combat [al narcotráfico] through weapons, it has only produced more deaths in our country. We are not in favor of the absolute liberation of drugs, but of the regulation of cannabis, "he said.
The political path of regulation goes parallel to the judicial one. Last week, the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation ruled in favor of a citizen, who denounced that several articles of the General Law of Health referring to cannabis violated his right to develop fully as a person. It was the fifth ruling of the Court in the same sense. This established jurisprudence in this regard, a situation that opens the way for the High Court to order Congress to eliminate such articles from the law. Morena's initiative overcomes the Court's ruling and not only eliminates the prohibition but also regulates the cannabis market.
Sánchez Cordero has insisted these days that the law is very complete, as it not only legalizes marijuana but also regulates the entire process of production, consumption, export and possible uses.
Regarding self-consumption, the project establishes that adults can load up to 30 grams of marijuana; They can grow their own plants – up to 20 – and harvest as much as 480 grams a year. The emergence of production cooperatives is expected, which will have up to 150 members. These can produce 480 grams per member per year and consumers will be allowed to smoke in public following rules similar to tobacco. The text provides sanctions against the sale of marijuana to minors. The initiative also allows the production of cannabis for sale, prior license. In addition, the elaboration is planned for industrial, medical and therapeutic use.
Therapeutics with drugs based on components of marijuana opened the way for the legalization of the substance for medicinal use three years ago.. Families from all over the country began lobbying in Congress to urge the Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risks, Cofepris, to allow them to import this type of remedies. They were people with epilepsy, cancer … In some cases they got it, although the commission hindered the importation in general. Only gave particular permissions. With the new law, this would no longer be a problem.
The Mexican Institute for Regulation and Control of Cannabis, whose creation provides for the law, will be responsible for developing regulations for the production, marketing and consumption of cannabis and, in general, to enforce the regulations.
It remains to be resolved what will happen to marijuana inmates, citizens detained or convicted for possession of cannabis. According to data from Morena, 62% of the prisoners that Mexico had in 2012 were in jail for crimes against health, that is, drug trafficking. Of these, 58% remained incarcerated due to issues related to marijuana. In 2011, also according to Morena, there were 1,509 prisoners sentenced for consumption or possession of cannabis, which means that they did not intend to traffic.
Another issue is who will obtain licenses to produce marijuana and who will benefit from production and sales taxes. The academic Froylán Enciso, expert in drug policy, said in an interview with a local media these days that the law should compensate the farmers who have produced cannabis in recent years, persecuted by the authorities. They, he defends, must obtain licenses to produce. As for taxes, he says, they should be used to improve social welfare.