Mexico’s original schedule for legalization hits serious setbacks as legislators miss the Supreme Court’s deadline to submit their final bill. On October 18, three days before the Supreme Court’s deadline, an optimistic Senate committee unveiled the final bill to the public ahead of schedule. But before the bill was actually submitted, legislators were apparently unable to agree on key aspects of the bill in time.
One reason could be the bill’s ground-breaking emphasis on greater licensing privileges for low-income individuals, small farmers, and indigenous groups. The idea behind the final bill was to strengthen vulnerable communities and bolster the country’s economy from the bottom up. Additionally, full-scale legalization could drastically reduce drug-related crimes and shrink revenue sources for cartels.
Ricardo Monreal Ávila, chairman of the Board of Policy Coordination, said in an interview with Excélsior that unprecedented pressure from groups including the United Commissions of Justice, Health and Legislative Studies have caused a “[traffic jam]” in the Senate.
[We are going to begin discussion with parliamentary coordinators and we are going to act with great responsibility, because this is not a ruling we want subjected to external pressure nor altered by outside interests.]
Ávila also emphasized that the Board of Policy Coordination is doing their best to “[shield [legislators] from any external interests or interests outside the Legislative Power.]” How effective these efforts will be are certain to be reflected in the next iteration of the bill. Meanwhile, as legislators debate the details of legalization, Mexico’s Supreme Court is drafting a declaration of general unconstitutionality. This would in effect allow home-grown cannabis in Mexico, but would not legalize the sale of recreational marijuana in the commercial market.
This highlights issues that the United States would consider during it’s own navigation through legalization legislation. First, large cannabis companies like MedMen are among the most influential lobbyists like MedMen (MMNFF) are pushing for legalization. The company started a campaign in Florida to push for legalization, collecting donations and rallying support in the state in the hopes of establishing a strong commercial foothold in the state’s cannabis market. But the time it takes to legalize is especially precious to big business investors in the United States: the company reported a 20% fall in stock following the release of their 2019 fourth quarter earnings. Still, there are those with pockets deep enough to measure a few thousand leagues: corporations like Kraft Heinz and magnates like Warren Buffett are joining the ranks as cannabis investors, and they are in it for the long-haul. Are their interests in federal legalization contingent on great expectations of nigh-exclusive commercial gain, or will they accept substantial licensing privileges for groups similar to those Mexico sought to support?
Mexico’s original bill fired up the nation over the prospect of a new chapter in their socioeconomic makeup. If the bill passes, it would establish a unique system for improving the quality of life for many marginalized citizens and serve as a template for other countries’ programs. But if outside interests will indeed jam legislators indefinitely, the Supreme Court’s declaration of unconstitutionality would give the U.S. insight into the plausibility of home-grown cannabis minus market and industry.