Mexico’s tourism minister calls for marijuana legalization

Months before Mexicans head to the polls to elect a new government, a senior official is calling for states to begin legalizing cannabis as a way to divert profits from the black market to a regulated sector.

“I think in Mexico we should move toward regulating it at state level,” Tourism Minister Enrique de la Madrid told Reuters.

De la Madrid was apparently referring to adult-use marijuana, although the Reuters article did not specifically mention it.

Cannabis could be an issue for voters when they elect a new government July 1.

Presidential front-runner Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has floated the idea of granting amnesty for some drug convictions as a way to tackle the country’s crime problem.

President Enrique Pena Nieto proposed a bill in 2016 to permit Mexicans to carry an ounce of cannabis, but the measure failed to win congressional support.

Meanwhile, former President Vicente Fox has called for cannabis to be included in international deals such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Several other Latin American nations have legalized medical marijuana, including Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Peru. Uruguay also has legalized adult-use marijuana.

Here is Mexico’s medical cannabis market at a glance:

  • In June 2017, Mexico legalized medical cannabis, but hasn’t approved growing the plant.
  • The only product that’s permitted is CBD oil with less than 1% THC, so opportunities are limited.
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