Mexico's supreme court plans to discuss a proposal that could effectively legalize the consumption and production of marijuana for recreational use in a session at the end of October. Judges will vote on whether to declare unconstitutional parts of a federal health law prohibiting the growth and consumption of marijuana after a nonprofit group filed an injunction against a 2013 decision by health regulator Cofepris. The hearing is set for Oct. 28, according to documents on the supreme court's website. – Reuters
Dominant Social Theme: Cannabis will never be legalized around the world. It's too dangerous.
Free-Market Analysis: We've been covering the momentum for cannabis legalization most recently in Canada where Liberal candidate Justin Trudeau claimed the office of Prime Minister with a platform that includes legalizing cannabis. Now comes word that Mexico's highest court will consider the issue of legalization.
A decision in favor of legalization would have a significant negative impact on Mexico's cartels. The Weedblog points out that Arizona, Nevada, and California may vote to legalize adult use of marijuana in 2016 and this along with Mexican legalization would undercut a good deal of cartel revenue.
Other reports regarding the upcoming decision have emphasized the limited nature of what is taking place. Marijuana Business Daily reports that, "Optimism should be tempered, however, as the business impact would be minimal, and a pro-legalization ruling is no guarantee."
In an article on the topic, Marijuana Business Daily explained that a favorable ruling would only apply to the plaintiffs, The Mexican Society for Tolerant and Responsible Personal Use, allowing members of the group to only grow and use cannabis themselves. "But they would not be able to engage in any commercial transaction whatsoever," Mexico observer Alejandro Hope wrote in El Daily Post.
The article concludes, "Still, it would loosen cannabis laws in Mexico, possibly paving the way for broader marijuana legalization down the road."
Meanwhile, in the US, the issue of cannabis legalization penetrated to the top level of federal politics as Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders made headlines with a statement that he would be "open" to legalizing cannabis. Sanders made the statement during an appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" Wednesday night.
Sanders said, "I am not unfavorably disposed to moving toward the legalization of marijuana. We have more people in jail today than any other country on Earth. We have large numbers of lives that have been destroyed because of this war on drugs, and because people were caught smoking marijuana and so forth. I think we have got to end the war on drugs."
Sanders had already said something similar, though less definitive, during the first Democratic presidential debate in Nevada. In response to questioning, both Sanders and Hillary Clinton said cannabis criminalization had put many people in jail unfairly.
In Canada, marijuana momentum continued following the election of the Liberals and Justin Trudeau. The Liberals under Trudeau want full-scale legalization whereas the Conservatives, who held power for the last ten years, were only begrudgingly even willing to allow medical marijuana.
The Liberal Party's website states its policy regarding marijuana is, in part, as follows: "We will legalize, regulate and restrict access to marijuana. Canada's current system of marijuana prohibition does not work. It does not prevent young people from using marijuana and too many Canadians end up with criminal records for possessing small amounts of the drug …"
While it is unclear how the Mexican Supreme Court may rule, pressures are obviously building in Mexico, as they are elsewhere, for full-scale cannabis legalization. If Mexico does move toward cannabis legalization within roughly the same period as Canada, then this would leave the US alone in North America with its patchwork of state and local legislation pertaining to various forms of marijuana. If both its neighbors legalize, the pressure for the US to move more quickly toward comprehensive cannabis legalization will continue to build.
Meanwhile, the United Nations is scheduled to host a General Assembly Special Session on Drugs (UNGASS) in 2016 at the UN headquarters in New York, where it is expected to promote significant drug reform.
With sentiment – even official sentiment – changing so rapidly, it is quite possible that many nations will attend UNGASS having already passed legislation legalizing some sort of cannabis usage, either medical or adult-use recreational. The results of UNGASS may set in motion the creation of a truly international market for cannabis and cannabis products.
Already in Canada, Forbes writes, marijuana investors "are taking a new look at … speculative [cannabis] stocks" since the Liberal party's landslide victory. However, as Daily Bell chief editor Anthony Wile has written in the past, as the industry matures the real profits to be made in cannabis may be located in climes closer to the equator where the natural outdoor growing season is year-round and the environmentally unfriendly impact of intensive electricity and water use being felt in northern regions is mitigated.
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