The 316-129 vote in Mexico`s lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, came more than two years after Mexico`s Supreme Court ruled that the ban on recreational marijuana was unconstitutional and more than three years after the country legalized medical cannabis. The legislation currently under consideration would legalize marijuana throughout the supply chain — from planting and harvesting to consumption. Nevertheless, the law would not give small and medium-sized producers the advantage over companies – let alone the ability to compete with the cartels` proven ability to supply medicines to domestic and international markets. There are also serious questions about Mexico`s ability to uphold the rule of law and regulate such a market. The vulnerability of the Mexican government to institutional corruption is an ongoing problem. The use of psychoactive substances in Mexico is not a crime, but possession of a drug for the purpose of using it is classified as a crime. However, detention is not punishable by imprisonment if it does not exceed the limit set out in the table of guidelines (see below) and if the person does not transport drugs to the places provided for in article 475 of the General Health Code (schools, prisons, etc.). Mexican lawmakers passed a bill Wednesday night to legalize recreational marijuana, a milestone for the country that is in a war on drugs and could become the world`s largest cannabis market, leaving the U.S. between two neighbors selling marijuana. Mexican law would allow individual users to carry up to 28 grams of marijuana and grow six cannabis plants at home. Cannabis could also be purchased by adults over the age of 18 from licensed businesses and grown on a larger scale by licensed groups. Medical marijuana, which Mexico legalized in 2017, would be regulated separately by the Department of Health, which issued rules for growing and researching medical cannabis in January.

Despite the long tradition of psychoactive substance prohibition policies, the regulation of cannabis markets in countries such as Canada, Uruguay and several U.S. states has influenced the debate surrounding the regulation of cannabis (for medical purposes) in Mexico. In 2017, former President Enrique Peña Nieto signed a decree legalizing medical marijuana as part of a series of reforms to the General Health Law and the Federal Penal Code, tasking the Ministry of Health to draft and implement public guidelines regulating the medical use of pharmacological derivatives of all cannabis strains. including its tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content. The Department is responsible for setting the rules for the research and domestic production of cannabis-derived medicines. The Order provides for the marketing, export and importation of cannabis products containing 1% or less THC and decriminalizes the cultivation or harvesting of cannabis for medical and scientific purposes. Finally, the Minister of Health is responsible for strengthening programmes for the prevention, rehabilitation and control of cannabis use, as well as the treatment of persons with cannabis use problems. Rojas Hernández theoretically supports the decriminalization of drugs – she insisted theoretically – but, she said, „the problem with drug cartels is that today they deal not only with drugs, but also, for example, kidnapping. So the problem is enormous. Perhaps the greatest effect of marijuana legalization in Mexico will be the reform of the national criminal justice system. In this regard, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) has many reasons to push for reform.

According to a recent study, more than 40% of inmates in Mexico are serving prison sentences for drug possession valued at less than $25. Legalizing marijuana could reduce Mexico`s problem of prison overcrowding — the country has been overwhelmed by up to 17,000 inmates in recent years — and reduce the number of nonviolent offenders who come into contact with criminal organizations that conduct robust operations despite being incarcerated. 8. What role has civil society played in the drug debate? So, if legalization is unlikely to prevent eradication (unless law enforcement does not touch illegal cultivation), will it defuse criminal groups or reduce their propensity for violence? Again, the answers are: highly unlikely.