Marijuana in Mexico:

History, Laws & Business Opportunities

The Mexican Supreme Court has ruled that cannabis prohibitions are unconstitutional, paving the way for the eventual legislation for marijuana in Mexico. Though the government has yet to act on the Supreme Court’s mandate, many are preparing for an inevitable cannabis industry.

Here’s what to know about the history and laws of marijuana in Mexico, as well as how you can prepare to enter Mexico’s cannabis industry when the time comes.

The History of Marijuana in Mexico

The history of marijuana in Mexico can be traced back to the 16th century, when it was introduced by Spaniards as hemp, medicine, and a psychoactive substance. Hemp and cannabis farming spread throughout Mexico, where it was quickly integrated into daily life for textiles and use in spiritual practices.

By the early 20th century, cannabis was deeply embedded in Mexican culture, society, and economy. In fact, Mexicans who immigrated to the United States to work as cheap laborers brought their cannabis with them.

Unfortunately, over the last several decades, American lawmakers and politicians like Harry J. Anslinger have perpetuated an image of Mexican cartels to stigmatize cannabis and marginalize the newly immigrated people.

Through extensive prohibitionist campaigns, cannabis use was correlated with criminality in the U.S., and the American cannabis prohibition quickly spread to its neighbor. By the 1920s, the production, sale, and recreational use of marijuana in Mexico were banned.

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What to Know About Mexico’s Cannabis Laws

In the 1980s, trafficking of marijuana in Mexico became a focal point for American politicians. After the U.S. government broke up the cocaine rings in the Caribbean, the Mexican smugglers began to traffic cannabis.

But drug — specifically cannabis — consumption in the U.S. provided the Mexican cartels with huge incentives to expand their drug trade into the north. By the early 2000s, when the Mexican people elected Vincente Fox as president, the “war on drugs” had grown exponentially.

It wasn’t until years later, after then-President Fox had left office, that Mexican politicians, including Fox, began to shift away from a war on drugs toward a scheme of legalization and regulation.

In 2018, the Mexican Supreme Court issued a ruling where it held that Mexico’s prohibitions on cannabis consumption and cultivation were unconstitutional. This formally decided the issue of whether the country should legalize cannabis use.

Though possessing small amounts of cannabis had been decriminalized since 2009, the high court’s 2018 ruling was truly momentous. Unfortunately, the global COVID-19 pandemic shelved some promising legislation in 2020.

Higher Yields Consulting Marijuana in Mexico: History, Laws & Business Opportunities

Marijuana in Mexico:
On the Path to Legalization

Since the Mexican Supreme Court’s ruling in 2018, Mexican politicians have struggled to put together a framework for sensible legalization of marijuana in Mexico.

In November of 2021, a number of Mexican senators circulated a draft cannabis legalization bill that would have detailed how the Mexican cannabis industry would operate.

Under the bill, a cannabis regulatory body would be created to issue cannabis business licenses, oversee the cannabis program, and promote cannabis education.

The program would have reserved about 40% of all cannabis cultivation licenses for communities most adversely affected by the failed war on drugs. It would have allowed adults 18 and older to purchase and possess up to 28 grams of cannabis and to cultivate up to six plants for personal use.

Though this bill never made it through the legislative hurdles, based on the high court’s ruling and the push by legislators to create a viable Mexican cannabis industry, it’s clear that a true cannabis economy is right around the corner for Mexico.

Higher Yields Consulting Marijuana in Mexico: History, Laws & Business Opportunities

Business Opportunities
for Marijuana in Mexico

If you’re paying attention to the developments in Mexico’s cannabis laws, you know that Mexico is right on the cusp of creating its cannabis industry.

Because no regulatory structure has been put into place yet, it’s not possible to start your Mexican cannabusiness at this time.

However, Mexico has a steep history with cannabis, so it is reasonable to believe the future is bright for marijuana in Mexico. With relatively cheap labor compared to the U.S. and European countries, starting a cannabis exporting company in Mexico could be a great way to enter the industry. There will be plenty of economic opportunities within Mexico in the near future, as well.

Navigate Marijuana in Mexico With an
Experienced Cannabis Consultant

There will no doubt be more developments on Mexico’s cannabis laws in the coming months, so working with an experienced cannabis consultant is a great way to stay on top of any changes.

At Higher Yields Consulting, our experts have decades of combined experience in cannabis consulting. We can help you best prepare for the eventual regulatory framework when the Mexican government provides one.

Contact us today so we can help your Mexican cannabusiness dreams come true!

Last updated: March 21, 2023

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