Could Mexico have the world's largest legal marijuana market?
After being on hold for three years, Mexico approved the medical and recreational use of cannabis, and is now projected as the country with the largest legal marijuana market.
This week, the Mexican Health Department regulated the production and medical use of cannabis, a historic measure that opens the door for the major discussion around the complete decriminalization of marijuana in the country.
The discussion around the legalization of marijuana currently exists in many countries and puts two major implications of the decision on the table.
The first and most urgent is the fight against drug traffickers. The violence in Mexico unleashed between the cartels and the state is one of the country's greatest problems.
Although cannabis is not the main reason for the "War on Drugs," the decriminalization of the production and consumption (recreational and medicinal) of the plant would help to reduce the wide range of illegal sales by cartels.
The second is the creation of an industry with exponential growth potential in its early years. The norm has already been signed by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, and it regulates the General Law of Health in the matter of cannabis and its pharmacological derivatives, reformed in 2017, allowing pharmacists to investigate medical cannabis.
Many foreign companies, Canadian and American, are already looking to Mexico as the next investment destination not only for the development of pharmaceutical products, but also for the growth of the industry that is generated around the recreational use of marijuana.
The legalization of marijuana has been a taboo subject elsewhere in Latin America, however in recent years, it has begun to be part of the political agenda and some countries in the region have already approved its medical use. Peru, Chile, Argentina, Paraguay, Colombia and Ecuador have approved the medicinal use of the plant. Mexico would be the second country in the region, after Uruguay, to completely decriminalize cannabis.
The discussion may soon reach all the countries on the continent.