MEXICO CITY — For years now, dozens of pro-marijuana activists have gathered in front of Mexico’s Congressional building on Reforma Avenue in the largest city in the Americas to spark up and tacitly remind lawmakers of a landmark 2012 ruling by the country’s Supreme Court, that declared a ban on recreational marijuana to be unconstitutional.
Just shy of a decade later, the precedent created by that historic decision is on the brink of a full flowering as the lower house of the Mexican Congress approved the federal regulation of cannabis by a 316 to 129 vote on Wednesday. The legislation is expected to pass easily in the Senate and be signed into law by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in short order.
Nearly four years after Mexico’s legalization of medical marijuana, extending legal status to recreational use will make it the principal marijuana market in North America and, possibly, the world. The implications for commercial interests on both sides of the border are considerable and American businesses, in particular, are keeping a close eye on developments south of the border
While dispensaries might not start popping up next to the neighborhood convenience store just yet, hemp – ganja’s less psychedelic cousin – could represent an immediate and lucrative market opportunity after the law is officially on the books, according to Raul Elizalde, CEO of HempMeds.
Hemp’s many industrial and biodegradable uses have been largely proscribed throughout the global supply chain of industrial goods in the twentieth century and remain so as a result of several factors that encompass everything from the emergence of synthetic fibers like Nylon, competing interests from paper production monopolies, to the persistence of racist, colonialist attitudes among wealthy elites, who have used the prohibition of marijuana and other natural substances to target the indigenous cultures that stand in the way of their global resource extraction projects.
A medieval approach
Texans who suffered through a week-long snowstorm made worse by severe power outages have been relieved of some of their suffering after the state repealed ridiculously high electricity costs they were unable to pay.
Texans who received their electricity through wholesale provider Griddy have been absolved of the sky-high rates they were forced to pay, state Attorney General Ken Paxton announced on Tuesday. Some 24,000 Griddy customers will be relieved of the charges for $29.1 million in unpaid electrical bills after the AG sued Griddy under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act following a week of record cold temperatures last month.
The five-day cold snap that saw some Texas residents hit with electricity prices of up to $9,000 per megawatt-hour – a rate over 100 times higher than the normal $25-$30 – added a profound layer of insult to the injury Texans were already suffering under the unseasonably frigid conditions. Paxton’s lawsuit released Griddy’s former customers from the utility’s bankruptcy, and the AG’s office is also reportedly working with the defunct utility to obtain “relief” for Texans who had already paid the wildly inflated energy bills in whole or part.
The utility filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Monday, after the state’s grid operator ERCOT billed it for $29 million, a sum it could not afford to pay. The utility claimed it had no choice but to lay off 15 of its 30 employees in late February following the storm.
Texas’ grid is not connected to those of other states and during the extreme cold snap, wholesale electricity prices soared – a catastrophic situation for Texans unaware they were being billed at the inflated rate for an entire week. While some customers got stuck paying Griddy’s highly inflated rate, others were able to switch to other providers selling electricity at the fixed rate most Texas electric customers pay.
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