Tags Posts tagged with "Mexico"

Mexico

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Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto confirmed that Mexico has decided to legalize the use of Medical Marijuana after unanimous support from Mexico’s House of Congress.

After many months of speculation for what was once vehemently opposed by President Nieto, the policy has been put into re-examination after a nationwide public debate on the subject. Nieto told the 2016 National General Assembly Special Sessions that “We must move beyond prohibition to effective prevention.”

Pena Nieto even went as far as to introduce a law that would allow the citizens of Mexico to be in possession of up to an ounce of marijuana without repercussions. However, the bill stalled and did not pass in Congress.

The medical marijuana bill passed through congress with ease late in 2016 and Mexico’s lower house passed the bill almost unanimously earlier in the year with a vote of 347-7. Mexico’s Secretary of Health voiced his approval of the bill stating “I welcome the approval of therapeutic use of cannabis in Mexico.” This is a policy we are not used to seeing in a developed country.

The decree given out by the President specifies that the Ministry of Health will be given the task of drafting as well as implementing the various policies associated with the new bill. Pena Nieto’s bill will effectively decriminalize the medical use of cannabis, THC, CBD, and all of the various cannabis derivative that help to ease the suffering in numerous conditions.

Although the current stipulations only permit the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol to not exceed one percent, the Ministry of Health will be required to research the medicinal benefits of the plant in order to change the stipulations. Mexico has changed from their past policy of strict drug enforcement given the current state of criminal drug activity to a newer more lax policy as they realize the medicinal benefits.

The road to legalizing marijuana for medicinal use may be hard, but Mexico has surpassed the first major hurdle.

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President Enrique Pena Nieto announced last week that he will be urging Mexico’s Congress to increase the limit on decriminalized cannabis for recreational use to twenty-eight grams, which is just near an ounce. At the moment, someone in Mexico can only hold up to five grams before being subjected to incarceration.

“This means that consumption would no longer be criminalized,” Pena Nieto stated.

Possession of greater amounts would still make someone subject to prosecution due to drug trafficking laws.

“We Mexicans know all too well the range and the defects of prohibitionist and punitive policies, and of the so-called war on drugs that has prevailed for 40 years,” Pena Nieto added. “Our country has suffered, as few have the ill effects of organized crime tied to drug trafficking. Fortunately, a new consensus is gradually emerging worldwide in favor of reforming drug policies. A growing number of countries are strenuously combating criminals, but instead of criminalizing consumers, they offer them alternatives and opportunities.”

Pena Nieto’s idea would allow people to utilize and bring in marijuana-infused medications, and it would free people who are on trial for having between five grams to an ounce of cannabis. This proposal comes after Mexico’s Supreme Court allowed four people to grow and consume marijuana recreationally.

“Without doubt, we set aside the ‘all or nothing’ approach, in favor of one that put the public health aspect first,” Jose Narro Robles, rector of Mexico’s National University, said. “It is a process we can all feel satisfied with.”

The executive director of the U.S. Drug Policy Alliance Ethan Nadelmann, says that the measure is “a modest but important step in the right direction… The problem, of course, is that this falls so far short of what other countries are already doing successfully in Europe and the Americas, and so far short of what’s needed in Mexico.”

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For the second consecutive year, the United States Border Patrol reported definitely diminished cannabis seizures along the Mexican border—and even the standard media can’t help making the association with the developing pattern toward legalization and decriminalization in the United States. In reporting the discoveries, the Washington Post used the feature, “Legal marijuana is finally doing what the drug war couldn’t.” A year ago, border operators secured about 1.5 million pounds—down from a crest of about 4 million in 2009. Expanded household farming in California, Colorado and Washington have driven costs down, particularly at the mass level.

“Two or three years ago, a kilogram [2.2 pounds] of marijuana was worth $60 to $90,” a Mexican marijuana cultivator recently said to NPR. “But now they’re paying us $30 to $40 a kilo. It’s a big difference. If the United States continues to legalize pot, they’ll run us into the ground.”

Medical cannabis laws have also had their part to a lifting of pressure that has sent prices dropping down.

“Those trying to understand what has happened with U.S. cannabis consumption and imports over the past decade need to pay close attention to licensed, and unlicensed production in medical states, especially California,” Beau Kilmer, from RAND Corporation said to the Post.

Yet there might be another bad thing here too besides harm to farmers in Mexico. The Post states: “The cartels, of course, are adapting to the new reality. Seizure data appears to indicate that with marijuana profits tumbling, they’re switching over to heroin and meth.”

As was highlighted in comparative data during 2015, it is vital in upholding legalization not to depict it as a panacea. There isn’t any enchantment wand we can wave to make the cartels leave. In any case, we can take measures that start to debilitate them.

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Legal cannabis might be accomplishing one thing that a drug war that has lasted for decades could not; reduce the Mexican drug cartel’s profits. The most recent information released by the U.S. Border Patrol indicates that in 2015, cannabis seizures along the Southwest border dropped to their lowest point in the last ten years. Agents compiled up to 1.5 million pounds of pot at the border, significantly lower than a high of almost 4 million pounds in 2009.

The data confirms the various stories about the hardships that cannabis cultivators in Mexico have been facing thanks to the increasing supply in the United States. As domestic cannabis production has spiked in places like California, Colorado, and Washington, cannabis prices have dropped.

“Two or three years ago, a kilogram [2.2 pounds] of marijuana was worth $60 to $90,” a Mexican cannabis cultivator reported at the end of 2014. “But now they’re paying us $30 to $40 a kilo. It’s a big difference. If the U.S. continues to legalize pot, they’ll run us into the ground.”

Not only has price become an issue for farmers in Mexico, but quality has as well. “The quality of marijuana produced in Mexico and the Caribbean is thought to be inferior to the marijuana produced domestically in the United States or in Canada,” according to the DEA’s 2015 National Drug Threat Assessment. “Law enforcement reporting indicates that Mexican cartels are attempting to produce higher-quality marijuana to keep up with U.S. demand.”

If the fall in border seizures is not enough proof, Mexican farmers are having a very hard time trying to keep up with domestic production. Some federal authorities are even beginning to accept this as the true. In fact, Michael Botticelli, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, reported to the Senate committee that “given the increase in marijuana use among the American population, this suggests that people using marijuana in the United States may be increasingly obtaining marijuana from domestic sources.”

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More and more countries are putting pressure on Mexico to free Nestora Salgado, an imprisoned community activist. This disposition arose once the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention decided earlier in February that her imprisonment was irrational and, moreover, illegal. The International Human Rights Clinic at Seattle University Law School had been following her case before the Geneva-based panel for almost two years. In the issuing, which was concluded in December, but only released in February, the panel of five members called her arrest arbitrary and called on Mexico to release and compensate Salgado for the violation of her human rights as soon as possible, according to the Associated Press.

The panel decided that she was arrested for her leadership of a local “community police” group, which is secured by Mexican law. Also, the panel found that she was allowed to contact neither her lawyers nor her family for approximately a year. Furthermore, Salgado was not provided with proper medical care or clean water. In the end, the finding charged that she was illegally arrested by the military and her United States passport was not considered.

“In the first place, there is no doubt that the arrest and detention without charges are illegal and thus arbitrary,” the finding reports. “Furthermore, the military arresting civilians for presumed crimes when national security is not at risk is worrying.”

Salgado is a grandmother who has lived in Seattle for more than two decades, became a United States citizen and went back to her village of Olinalá in southern Mexico’s Guerrero state. Soon after, residents started the “community police” movement to fight against the drug cartels that were terrorizing the area. Her lawyers add that defense patrols are protected by Mexican law. However, after she asked her followers to incarcerate a nearby official for working with criminal gangs and ended up being incarcerated in August 2013.

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Many big companies invested in legal marijuana are thinking about risking doing work with Mexico following a Supreme Court decision that made legalization possible for the country that has been experiencing years of intense drug violence. From medical cannabis cultivators to marijuana private equity firms, many cannabis entrepreneurs see Mexico as an excellent new opportunity although marijuana is still illegal, and the market is run by brutal drug cartels.

“Me personally, I’m not afraid to go to Mexico,” Daniel Sparks, head of government affairs at BioTrackTHC, a U.S.-based provider of marijuana supply-chain software, stated.

He added that just like how mafias and bootleggers stopped selling illegal moonshine after Prohibition ended in the United States, Mexico’s cartels will have little to no interest in a legal cannabis market, particularly if it was compiled of reliable pharmaceutical and technological firms.

“I am not so optimistic to think that a cannabis business in Mexico would not encounter opposition or violence from the cartels. However, their profit margins are being eroded daily, monthly and yearly by the continued expansion of medical and recreational marijuana programs in more and more U.S. states.”

Justin Trudeau, Canada’s new prime minister, has agreed to make the plant legal, and a Supreme Court decision during the end of 2015 gave Mexico the opportunity to one day do the same, allowing the ruling party to draft a bill to regulate medical pot.

“It shows North America … is moving in the same direction, and that’s more than just symbolic: it’s indicative of what will happen at a global scale,” Brendan Kennedy, chief executive of pot private equity firm Privateer Holdings, reported. “Mexico is an interesting investment opportunity.”

His firm has found that legal medical and recreational marijuana in Mexico could generate over $1.7 billion in revenue annually.

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Prior to the legalization of marijuana in Mexico, Canada, or any other country, governments are first required to present their plans, which will include many drug treaties, to the United Nations General Assembly. A memo was sent to Justin Trudeau, Canada’s newly elected prime minister, and states that Canada will need to divulge a plan to legalize, manage and limit access to cannabis without going against any of the three treaties, which claim that the possession and development of marijuana for recreational reasons is illegal globally.

“As part of examining legalization of cannabis possession and production, Canada will need to explore how to inform the international community and will have to take the steps needed to adjust its obligations under these conventions,” the memo states.

Canada’s proposal will not just be required when the United Nation’s General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem gets together in the spring, but the memo also states that Trudeau’s legalization plan will need to be persuading enough to convince the rest of the world that this new movement is a great thing. Errol Mendes, international law expert and a professor at the University of Ottawa, states that as the Canadian government does have the right to tell “why it feels it has to do it,” the result will likely end up in cannabis taking “many years” to finally be legalized.

Here are the three treaties that would need to be altered before Canada or any other country could end prohibition: The Single Convention on Narcotic Drug of 1961; The Convention of Psychotropic Substances of 1971; The United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances of 1988. The briefing indicates that various countries would like to reform their respective drug laws.

“At the meeting, several South American countries as well as Mexico wish to discuss what they perceive as more effective policy approaches to respond to the current realities of the drug problem, which could include decriminalization/legalization of illicit drugs, harm reduction, and/or a call to renegotiate the international drug control conventions.”

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The Mexican government this past Friday granted the first permits giving the green light for the cultivation and possession of marijuana for personal use.

The federal medical protection agency stated the permits apply only to the four plaintiffs who were victorious with a favorable decision from the Supreme Court this past month. The court stated cultivating and consuming cannabis is covered under the right of “free development of personality.”

The permits issued Friday will not allow smoking pot in front of children or anyone who hasn’t given consent. The permits also do not allow the sale or distribution of marijuana.

Ironically, the plaintiffs stated that even with the permits in hand, they don’t plan to smoke the marijuana permitted. They said they filed the suit to make a point about prohibitionist policies being wrong, not to get their hands on legal weed.

“The objective is to change the policy, not to promote consumption,” said Juan Francisco Torres Landa, one of the four plaintiffs. “We are going to set the example; we are not going to consume it.”

The court’s ruling didn’t define a general legalization for Mexico. However if the court ruled the same way on five similar petitions, it would then determine the precedent to change the law and allow general recreational use.

The government medical protection agency, known as COFEPRIS, stated it has received 155 applications to obtain such permits. However other applicants would have to go through the appeals process, something supporters say would probably take at least a year.

President Enrique Pena Nieto has repeatedly stated he is not in favor of legalizing marijuana as do a majority of Mexicans surveyed in recent polls.

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Enrique Pena Nieto, Mexican President, strongly opposed the legalization of marijuana on Wednesday. At the same time, the Mexican government called for a nationwide debate on the topic. He even stated that based on the debates on the topic that have been going on, there has been confusion everywhere, including his own household.

Mexico’s Supreme Court decided in November that cultivating, having and smoking cannabis for recreational use is legal because of the right to freedom, however, that ruling did not apply to the entire country, but just to four people involved in a specific case. According to Pena Nieto on Wednesday, one of his children asked him “Hey Dad, does that mean I can light up a joint in front of you soon?” The president responded by saying “No, don’t be confused.”

“I am not in favor of consuming or legalizing marijuana,” Pena Nieto stated in a prose announcing a child welfare program. “I am not in favor because it has been proven, demonstrated, that consuming this substance damages the health of children and youths. However, I am in favor of debate, so that specialists can give us some indication of where we should be going.”

Not too long ago, Miguel Angel Osorio Chong, Interior Secretary, said that the government will soon begin a nationwide debate on the use of marijuana, with public sessions to be held towards the end of January. Some of these debates will be hosted at four regional forums, and may even be accessed from the internet.

The debate will be primarily focused on public policy, health and social impact. As of right now, Mexico has decriminalized the possession of minimal amounts of cannabis, but reformers would like to take it to the next level; they want to legal the recreational and medical uses of marijuana. Pena Nieto did not approve of activists’ claims that “legalization would reduce drug cartels’ incomes from the trade.”

“It isn’t valid, and I don’t agree, that this legalization would make it easier to fight organized crime, by reducing the illicit income and profits from this activity,” Pena Nieto said. “That would beg the question, should we put the health of Mexican children and youths at risk in order to combat organized crime?”

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The United States has a very sensitive relationship with Mexico when dealing with illegal drugs.

It is constantly claiming that Mexico has been at ease in assisting in the interdiction of illegal drugs that are produced or staged in Mexico and sent to destinations within the U.S. American policymakers and would-be presidential candidates aim at the corruption within the Mexican government that is kept alive by the billions in revenues of illegal drugs that Mexico’s cartels send to the U.S. Mexico always reply’s with the obvious: There would be no illegal drug issue between the two countries if U.S. drug users were not creating this lucrative market.

Years ago, admitting to or being accused of drug use in Mexico was shameful.

During the past 20 years, Mexico has seen its internal drug use rise, much as is the case in developed countries.

As northbound illegal drug deliveries have increased since the 1960s, powerful officials in the Mexican government allowed a tolerance for drug gangs and cartels to continue their operations, as long as they did not conflict with the nation’s normal course of business.

In 2009, the Mexican government changed the law to decriminalize small amounts of possession depending on the particular drug.

For personal use, drug users were allowed up to 5 grams of marijuana, 50 milligrams of heroin, 40 milligrams of cocaine, 0.015 milligrams of LSD and 40 milligrams of methamphetamine.

A group called “la Sociedad Mexicana de Autoconsumo Responsable y Tolerante filed a lawsuit claiming that Mexico’s historic approach to drug policy infringed on private rights and has been ineffective in a general sense.

The Supreme Court stopped short of ruling that Mexico’s drug policy, as it affects individual citizens, no longer applies.

First, how will this affect the dynamic of Mexico’s internal drug structure and will this have any impact on the cartels? Because the U.S. is the largest illegal drug consumer in North America, and most likely the world, allowing Mexican citizens to cultivate and consume their own pot is probably not going to affect the cartels in a major sense.

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