After a landslide vote won leftist candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador the title of Mexico’s next president, there are already signs that his administration will work to make Mexico the third Country in the world to legalize marijuana.
Although Señior López Obrador has yet to endorse the move publicly, the country’s interior secretary Olga Sánchez Cordero has done just that while calling for the end to prohibition of marijuana cultivation in Mexico. Sánchez Cordero has served as a Mexico Supreme Court Jurist. She will be the first woman to hold the office of the interior secretary in that country.
Also an advocate for abortion and same-sex marriage, Sánchez Cordero is in favor of decriminalizing both cannabis and opium poppies in Mexico as a way to mitigate the violence which is a direct result of the war on drugs which was initiated by former president Felipe Calderón in 2006. More than 160,000 people have been murdered in the past 12 years, with 29,000 in 2017 alone. And there have been thousands of more disappearances.
In a recent interview with W Radio Sánchez Cordero said, “Canada has already decriminalized, as well as almost half of the states in the United States. What are we thinking? Why are we killing ourselves when North America and many European countries have decriminalized?” She added, “We are going to try to use the opium poppy for pharmaceutical purposes. Pharmacies buy a lot because they use it to make morphine, as there are many illnesses that require it for treatment,” she told the radio station.”
Along with decriminalization, Sánchez Cordero would like to institute a host of prevention and rehabilitation programs.
Although President-Elect López Obrador has not publicly endorsed the idea of legalizing marijuana, Sánchez Cordero claims that he is not opposed and is willing to explore the possibility to reduce drug-related violence.
Last June, Mexico’s Congress voted to legalize medical cannabis which was made illegal in that country in 1917. However, the law only allowed for cannabis use by patients with a few select conditions.
According to a report on Leafly, back in December of 2017, the government announced guidelines which permit the importation of “pharmacological derivatives of cannabis,” with less than one percent THC. Any use of marijuana pills, oils, or other derivatives containing greater than one percent THC requires individual patients to seek government approval. These rules expressly prohibit the use of smokable forms of cannabis.
It may take another two years to develop rules for dispensaries. In an interview with Leafly, secretary of Mexico’s Federal Commission for Protection Against Health Risks (or COFEPRIS), Julio Sánchez y Tépoz, has said the government is working on dispensary regulations, saying, “I believe as soon as the new regulations are put into place, we are going to see cannabis stories (opening) very fast.”
However, it’s quite possible that the country could legalize marijuana within that time frame.