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No decriminalization of marijuana, yet… and that’s a good thing

16 May 2021

Sorry, tourists, hipsters… and Canadians… and Canadian hipster tourists…. but the much expected legalization of the marijuana trade had not passed by the Supreme Court ordered deadline of 30 April, and is unlikely to be debated by the legislature until the next term.

And that’s a good thing? Initially, the proposal was fairly simple, to allow individuals (with or without a license, from… some government agency or another) to grow somewhere between two and five plants for their own (adult) use, and for smallhold farmers to grow and sell their crop either to a state-run buyer (I proposed calling it PotMex) or to some licensed retailer for sale to consumers, either through state, or privately (and perhaps licensed) outlets. In other words, there were details to be worked out, but in the main, the purpose was to allow users to obtain marijuana for their own use (whether for medical or recreational use) and small farmers to sell legitimately a cash crop to buyers NOT connected to organized crime.

As I feared, the pressure came from outside corporate interests, including Canadian firms already in the retail marijuana trade (for months, the various foreigner and “expat” sites here had offer after offer from people looking to set up multi-lateral market schemes for selling various marijuana related products, the poster nearly always claiming some connection with some “respectable” Canadian firm with experience in the trade. And… of course, “big ag” wasn’t about to start dealing with small hold farmers, preferring… if they were going to buy Mexican marijuana… to be able to buy in export quantity and control the market… something that’s been obvious since Vicente Fox — whose family business has been exporting crops to the United States for three generations, and came to the Presidency as a neo-liberal business executive — first excited the English speaking parts of North America with his “conversion” to the pro-legalization movement.

While the bill, as intended, was not perfect in the form passed by the Senate, once it reached the Chamber of Deputies, it was deformed beyond all possible belefit. As was said by Jorge Javier Romero Vadillo in SinEmbargo (translated by “Mexico Voices”):

The legislation that was aborted suffered from great congenital deformities: 

  • it did not decriminalize simple possession or cultivation because complicated requirements were established. These were largely conceived to benefit Canadian companies developed under the protection of the law that already exists in their country and which sought to expand their production in the benign Mexican climate. 
  • The bill sent by the senators to the deputies opened up business opportunities that seemed juicy, but it did not guarantee the rights of consumers who have been victims of an iniquitous prohibition. 
  • It barely opened a loophole to compensate for the damage inflicted on rural communities which, over decades, have been producers of cannabis for the clandestine market and, thereby, victims of drug trafficking organizations as well as of the Mexican State.

AND… just to top it off, bad as it was, the Chamber decided to confuse everything by prohibiting exports and creating harsh penalties for violating already confusing regulations which, in effect, made the whole marijuana business even more likely to get one tossed in the vertical bars Hilton than the laws are now.

SO… back to the Supreme Court, with the Chamber’s recommendation that the courts rule on some provisions in the public health laws … perhaps with the idea of just making marijuana another crop, like cotton or potatos or cactus or flowers, regulated like other agricultural products (perhaps weith health warnings, like those on alcoholic beverages and sugary beverages) or… much more likely, to buy time to come up with something more workable and less contradictory.

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