Mexico Delays Cannabis Legalization Amid COVID-19

Mexico has pushed back the deadline for cannabis legalization that was scheduled in April to now be set for December.

Amid the chaos that has been the COVID-19 pandemic, Mexico has joined the ranks of New York and Connecticut in delaying any progress on cannabis legalization.

Mexico, which was set to be the 3rd country to legalize cannabis federally, was due to come to a conclusion on April 30th regarding cannabis legalization, but missed the deadline and had it pushed back to the end of this year. Though this isn't the first time Mexico has pushed back its legislative efforts on the cannabis front.

Last year, Mexico's Supreme Court ruled that a ban on recreational use and possession of cannabis was unconstitutional. Moreover, the Supreme Court actually issued five rulings decrying the unconstitutional nature of cannabis prohibition, which they argued went against "the right to the free development of the personality," as the country's constitution states.

As such, Mexican legislators introduced a bill that would allow adults to cultivate up to four plants and purchase marijuana from licensed retailers while prioritizing low-income and indigenous people when it comes to licensing.

The bill was slated for October 23rd in 2019, however, it was delayed until April this year, and has now been pushed further back till the end of 2020.

While the delay is an unfortunate setback for cannabis advocates and legislation, it was to be expected given the chaos that COVID-19 has caused for economies. Though hope is not entirely lost for Mexico's marijuana efforts, as President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has previously stated that the black market needs to be eliminated, and that prohibition hasn't been fruitful.

"In the matter of narcotic drugs, the prohibitionist strategy is already unsustainable, not only because of the violence generated by its poor results in terms of public health," Obrador remarked.

It seems that while Mexico has placed cannabis on the backburner for the moment, the country's intentions remain focused on legalizing the plant in the near future and helping to eliminate some of Mexico's thriving black market. And when Mexico finally becomes the third country to federally legalize cannabis, it will also be the largest and most populous country to do so, which will be a massive boon for the global efforts to end the War on Drugs.

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Louis O'Neill
Louis O'Neill

Louis is a writer based in Sydney with a focus on social and political issues. Having interviewed local politicians and entrepreneurs, Louis now focuses on cannabis culture, legislation & reform.

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