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In the United States, there's a surge of news from the Senate floor as an increasing number of states advocate for cannabis legalization. Notably, a nearby country with a population of 120 million citizens recently made a remarkable decision regarding cannabis laws. Specifically, on March 9th, 2021, Mexican lawmakers passed a bill that, if enacted, would allow for the recreational use of marijuana. Let's delve into the specifics and implications of this development for visitors to the country.
The vote in Mexicos lower house (The Chamber of Deputies) which lifted the recreational ban came over two years after the Mexican Supreme Court ruled that the country’s ban on recreational cannabis use was unconstitutional, and roughly three years after the country legalized medial use. The ruling would allow adults to smoke cannabis and (with a permit) grow a small amount of plants in their home. It would also allow producers (farmers, cultivars, commercial growers, etc.) to farm and sell the crop. Under current legislature, anyone in Mexico over the age of 18 can purchase and posses up to 28 grams, and cultivate up to eight plants. Adults are prohibited from smoking cannabis in front of their children, and in many public places.
Though it is important to note that the bill must be passed into law before it can be considered final, it stands to reason that recreationally legal marijuana could greatly impact Mexicos already booming tourism economy. U.S. States such as California and Colorado reported overwhelmingly positive impacts in their state specific economies just months after full legalization. It is very possible that you may see a bud-tender in your next vacation resort.
Though it is seen as a huge positive by the majority, there are many who view it as simply a political fad. This is because it is believed (generally speaking) that the bill will have little-to-no effect on the rise of cartel violence in Mexico. An analyst for the International Crisis Group was quoted saying the bill will "not substantially change the dynamics and drivers of lethal conflicts in Mexico"
Though it may not do much to prevent cartel violence, the legalization of recreational marijuana does open the door for an impressive economic impact on an even greater scale than what we have seen in the United States. Passing this bill into law would make Mexico the largest market for legal cannabis in the world today.
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