Mexico Takes Next Steps To Legalize Marijuana

A week after Mexico's Supreme Court ruled an absolute ban on recreational marijuana unconstitutional, the country is following up quickly with legislation.

Sen. Olga Sanchez, President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's choice for interior minister, plans to send a bill to the Congress that would allow recreational use of marijuana in the country.

Sanchez told Reuters the bill will be presented in Congress this week.

Mexico Would Join 2 Other Fully Legal Countries

With a population of 120 million people, a legal Mexican marijuana market would be significant. Last year, it was estimated that the country's medical marijuana market alone could be worth $5 billion. Mexico legalized medical marijuana last year, with the bill receiving overwhelming support in Congress and Senate. 

The proposed recreational bill would allow companies to grow and sell marijuana and individuals to grow plants for private use — but no more than 480 grams, or roughly 1 pound, could be registered and produced annually.

With the legalization of adult-use weed, Mexico would join two other countries where the drug is fully legal — Uruguay and Canada — and 10 U.S. states. 

A Major Development In The War on Drugs?

In the bill posted on the Congress' website, Sanchez said that since Mexico launched a war on cartels 12 years ago, over 230,000 people have been killed — and the country's position against marijuana has contributed to the violence. 

Since the legislation is only a proposal now, it's hard to estimate the economic impact of full legalization in Mexico. 

North of the border, California legalized recreational weed at the beginning of 2018 and saw $135 million in tax revenue in the first half of the year. 

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