New Mexico and (Old) Mexico in a Race to Legalize Cannabis
"Over the past 15 years, drug cartels and organized crime in Mexico have killed an estimated 150,000 people, representing about half of all Mexico’s homicides during that period. Another 73,000 people have disappeared", as reported in CEN (Cannabis Equipment News).
In the context of this massive human toll of drug violence, the current limited legalization bill, which was approved by the lower house in March and is now being reviewed in the Senate, is a critical step for our southern neighbor.
Mexican legislators are struggling with a legalization plan that addresses many domestic concerns, and are taking a step-by-step approach toward a fully legal and organized industry which was begun in earnest in 2015 when the Supreme Court agreed with a suit filed by Mexico United Against Crime, ruling that Mexico's total ban on cannabis was unconstitutional.. In 2018, the Supreme Court mandated that Congress end Prohibition.
The current bill is not a total solution, but it's a start:
POSSESSION IN SMALL AMOUNTS OK:" Mexico’s bill would not outright legalize cannabis; it would raise the country’s existing threshold of nonpunishable personal possession from 5 grams to 28 grams. Possession of 29 to 200 grams of cannabis would result in a fine. After that, prison would still be a possibility."
SELLING CANNABIS STILL A CRIME. "The bill also grants officials authority, without a warrant, to enter the residence of a cannabis grower to verify compliance with the law. That may lead some people who currently grow cannabis illegally at home to avoid registering, preferring their clandestine tranquility over invasive home inspections", says CEN.
We've seen similar evolutionary steps taken in some US states. While this bill does not solve all of Mexico's cannabis issues at once, it is a welcome start toward reducing crime and violence, and providing access to critical medicinal products to Mexicans in need.. In other words, saving lives in multiple ways.
New Mexico Declares Special Session for Cannabis
And while Reefer-Mad Republicans complain that holding this session in the week before Easter is "frivolous and disrespectful", they apparently missed the connection to ending suffering (cannabis as medicine) in addition to the jobs, business opportunities, innovations, and tax revenues that the cannabis industry has brought to each state that has legalized.
If approved, New Mexico will become the third or fourth state to legalize cannabis through the legislature rather than a popular vote. Vermont and Illinois legalized in this fashion, and Virginia's approval is awaiting its Governor's signature.