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