The interior minister of Mexico and its new leftist government, Olga Sanchez Cordero, has submitted a bill to that country’s congress to end the prohibition of marijuana and start legal regulation. The bill, supported by the party in power, is likely to be passed within weeks predicts the Financial Times, making Mexico only the third country in the world to legalize the cultivation and consumption of cannabis.
Latin America’s second-largest economy, it appears will follow in the footsteps of Uraguay and Canada and some U.S. states. The big difference, of course, is that Mexico is the only one of those places which are a major producer of illicit drugs, and the legalization of marijuana will finally address that drug war. Will legalization it “cut the chain” of the illegal and bloody drug cartels as Sanchez Calderon hopes?
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“How much blood has been spilled, how many crimes have there been before a joint reaches someone’s hands? It’s terrible,” Ms. Sánchez Cordero said to the Financial Times. “This is an important step towards pacification.”
Former Mexican president Vicente Fox, who sits on the board of a Canadian cannabis company, Khiron Life Sciences, said: “I think the cartels will lose 40 percent of their income with [marijuana] legal here and in the US.” He thinks what happens in Mexico will reflect what he saw in Canada when that country legalized recreational cannabis. “Previously they were criminals, now they’re in suits and are businessmen or farmers,” he told the FT. “It’s a marvelous transformation.” Meanwhile, Fox is priming his company to enter the Mexican market. “When it’s no longer illegal, you can put in a lot of research and development — it becomes an industry,” he said.
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Meanwhile, Alejandro Hope, a security expert, told the Financial Times he’s skeptical. “This is not a security issue. This is an issue about public freedoms. If you frame this as a magic wand to reduce violence, we are in for a major disappointment,” he said. “Go for it . . . but it will not bring peace.”
“Seizures in Mexico have collapsed and seizures on the US border have declined by two-thirds,” he said. After all, if so many in the United States are already getting their cannabis legally, where’s the demand for cartels to continue importing it in numbers anywhere near what they once were.
Header Image: Photo by Jorge Aguilar on Unsplash