Cannabis In Mexico Right Now
The Mexican Supreme Court recently ruled that the prohibition of marijuana was unconstitutional, but the new government supports legalisation, so the question no longer is if Mexico should legalise cannabis, but how.
Production: The number of producers and the quantity they can produce determine the functioning of a market. Although the initiative limits home cultivation and cannabis clubs to 480g or 20 plants per person, supply levels for the commercial market are not set. But the necessity to obtain a license ensures eventual state control over who can produce how much marijuana.
Profit motive: Entrepreneurs want to maximise their profits and will seek to expand their customer base. But this is at odds with the public health objective of limiting cannabis consumption. To resolve this tension, the government’s initiative intends to employ several regulatory tools to find “an equilibrium between absolute prohibition and the free market”. For example, licensing requirements prevent companies from exercising too much control over either the whole value chain or one part of it.
Promotion: As with alcohol or tobacco, advertising is key for enticing new users to try out a substance. That is why it is important to decide whether, or to what extent, to allow the promotion of cannabis. The initiative currently prohibits “all direct or indirect publicity that has the goal of promoting cannabis use”.
Prevention: To minimize problematic use, information and prevention are vital. While the initiative requires dispensaries, cannabis clubs and the regulatory agency to run information and prevention campaigns, where the funding for them will come from has not yet been determined.
Policing and Enforcement: To be effective, established limits need to be policed. For example, the initiative states that driving under the influence of cannabis will be sanctioned. Although it requires that “the detection method must be based on scientific evidence and disregard discretion”, currently there is no good way to determine if someone is driving while high. Unfortunately, Mexican police tend to take advantage of such uncertainties to exact bribes.
Penalties: Those who break rules have to face consequences. The initiative foresees that administrative sanctions, such as fines, community service or temporary arrest will apply to those who do not play by the rules established by cannabis regulation.
Potency: As with alcohol, the varying potency of marijuana results in varying degrees of harm. The initiative establishes that the Instituto Mexicano de Regulación y Control del Cannabis will set both the potency levels and the ratio of the main psychoactive components of the cannabis sold.
Purity: As with any other legally sold product, marijuana should undergo testing to ensure it isn’t contaminated with adulterants, pesticides or other impurities – and that it is what it claims to be. The initiative establishes that the cannabis regulation institute will also oversee quality control for both the production process and the product.
Price: Setting the right price for legal cannabis is probably the most vexing problem the legalisation process faces. What we know is that if the price is too low, consumption increases, while if the price is too high, dealers will continue to sell marijuana illegally. So there is a tension between the two objectives of protecting public health and attacking black markets. Although the initiative pretends to achieve both goals, it does not elaborate on how to establish the right price point.
Permanency: Once established, rules, regulations and institutions tend to be sticky. They persist even if they are ineffective or outdated. Consequently, it is important to establish mechanisms that will allow the law to be evaluated and, if necessary, updated. The initiative contemplates this point and empowers the cannabis institute to periodically evaluate how well legalisation is working.
Mexicos’s former president Vincente Fox, who is now on Khiron Life Sciences (KHRN) board took the Reddit to an AMA with r/weedstocks yesterday.
Please join me Dec 4th 5PM EST as we discuss the dynamic & fast growing cannabis market in Latam. As a Khiron board member and as a passionate advocate for legalized cannabis believe we are leading the way as legalization quickly develop around the world. https://t.co/kH81s5r7vd
— Vicente Fox Quesada (@VicenteFoxQue) November 30, 2018
In an interview earlier this year, Fox said:
“We have to come up to where the United States is,” he says. “This is happening in several key states throughout the union, and also like other world nations are doing, like Holland, like Portugal, Uruguay, so Mexico has to be updated on this public policy.”
If Mexico takes the next step to full legalization “one of the things that I’m absolutely convinced that will happen in Mexico is that we’ll take away half of the money that cartels get from selling drugs in the United States, and that half of the money will reduce the amount of guns and ammunition bought by the cartels.”
He continued this mindset in the Reddit AMA: