Last updateFri, 27 Nov 2020 10am

The Green Rush

As of January, 2018, the Supreme Court has made medical marijuana legal in all of Mexico, but the Secretary of Health has not signed off on the dispensing regulations. That was supposed to happen after the July elections.

President-elect oópez Obrador supports it. And former president Vicente Fox has been promoting the use of medical marijuana for years and has reportedly received permission to cultivate it on his ranch.

If you are a foreigner, don’t try this. Don’t try to fake ignorance. The plantstem has seven narrow radiating leaves, the seven wonders of the world for many.

Mexico’s Ministry of Health has been commissioned by the government to create regulations and criteria for the program. The chief requirement is that all marijuana medications must only contain one percent of THC, the psychoactive ingredient, or less. There will obviously be testers of medicinal compounds, so if you’re thinking of coming out of retirement ...?

Since the government doesn’t want to be responsible for mature adults growing pony tails and wearing feathers, patients will need a prescription from a qualified physician for a limited supply of cannabis medication. The pharmacies, in turn, must only receive their cannabis medications from facilities authorized by COFEPRIS (the Commission to Protect against Public Health Risks). So. you can see that authorities are still not sure about “Reefer Madness.”

As in other places on the globe, Mexico has decriminalized simple possession of small amounts of recreational drugs, less than five grams of marijuana, which is about three joints. This does not mean drugs are legal, just that prisons are overcrowded and there’s no place like home when you’re stoned. Jalisco had already legalized medical use of the plant in 2014, but not yet for recreational use, although the federal law permitting possession of small amounts would apply here. According to legal recommendations, one might require an amparo, which is a formal protection for use under the law.

And of course, transporting or smuggling even a small amount of the plant into Mexico could get you a prison spell. For example, crossing with weed from California – where it is now legal – could be a simple mishap until you wind up in a Mexican jail.  And based on accounts from people I spoke with, who have been in a Mexican prison, including a tough ex-marine, you don’t want to go there. It’s not home away from home. Largely because of the number of uninvited species you’ll share it with.

The good news:

1. Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that in the five U.S. states that decriminalized marijuana, there was no apparent rise in marijuana use among high school students, alongside a 75-percent drop in marijuana-related arrests of people under 21.  But increased sales of Frito Lays.

2. There are reports in major U.S. cities of fewer incidents of gang violence over control and distribution of the drug. Gangs may start singing, “Somewhere! We’ll Find A New Way of Living! We’ll Find A Way of Forgiving!”

3. The enactment of laws permitting the medical use of marijuana leads to a significant drop in prescription opioid use, suggests a new study in the journal Addiction. (Once called Rock Star Gazetteer. Just joking.)

4. Legal recreational marijuana consumers use less beer, spirits, alcohol, painkillers and sedatives, according to a new research report from Chicago-based High Yield Insights. (Good Russian hacker info for hopelessly tipsy Russians.)

5. The number of full-time workers in the marijuana industry is expected to more than double. This means a whole range of new employment opportunities will arise.

Finally, profits to cartels from marijuana sales are projected to drop like the so-called “smokeless cigarette.”