A mother pushes her daughter in a wheelchair while strolling through the aisles of an exposition center to look out for any latest developments in the medicinal cannabis segment at the annual Expo Weed gathering organized in the capital of Mexico.
Paulina has a life threatening condition which causes intense convulsions and shooting pains since she was born 32 years ago, when her brain was deprived of oxygen which led to cerebral paralysis. Paulina’s body tenses up with spasms and she clenches her fists as her mother explained how cannabis has truly helped her daughter and changed her life.
Cannabis has improved her overall health, reduced convulsions and eased her terrible pain. However the only problem that persists is the illegal status of cannabis in Mexico which prohibits cannabis in every form, even if medicinal.
Gracia explained that her daughter has taken heavy doses of painkillers and the most effective medicine has been cannabis. She has been monitoring her cannabis concentrate continuously for her daughter for the past one year. Gracia admits that Paulina’s convulsions have significantly reduced.
Gracia hopes to seek a pardon from the court system of Mexico for her daughter’s treatment so that she can legally consume cannabis. The Mexican Supreme Court in August had ordered the Ministry of Health to publish regulatory guidelines for medicinal cannabis use within the timeline of 180 days.
In October 2018, the court also ruled that the ban of personal possession, use and private cultivation of cannabis is unconstitutional as it breaches the fundamental right to the free development of the personality. Such rulings are not automatically extended to everyone in Mexicon, however, they often prod Congress to change the laws.
Supporters of cannabis now have high hopes that Mexican enforcement officials will legalize marijuana before the end of 2019.
Cannabis users have been lobbying for more than 10 years to decriminalize marijuana consumption and its derivatives. Although the government has created hurdles for them on their way, the scenario regarding legalization of marijuana seems to be taking a dynamic course of action under the President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who took office December 1.
Obrador’s interior minister has called for decriminalization and regulation of illicit drugs in order to stop punishing users and take away the power from the cartels.
Lisa Sánchez, director of Mexicans United Against Crime, says that there are more terrible crimes taking place such as killings and other violent acts which require attention and the security strategies should be reoriented towards them. The agency is a group which has campaigned for decriminalizing drugs.
Mexico hasn’t always been so stringent about marijuana laws, it was only after the United States meddles and pressurized the Mexican President Lázaro Cárdenas who had decriminalized marijuana use and opioids in 1940.
Capos like Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán garnered millions by smuggling cannabis into the United States in recent years, however the cartels’ cannabis proceeds have significantly fallen down because of the legalization of hemp derived cannabidiol by the United States.
According to the civic group México SOS, Mexico is the second largest producer of marijuana in the world, with marijuana growing across a wide land of 16,500 hectares (40,772 acres). Mexico has the ideal weather for marijuana cultivation, also the cheap labour makes it super affordable to cultivate it on a large scale.
Decriminalization or legalization of marijuana could heavily impact Mexico’s economy and the industry is estimated to reach a whopping $12 billion by 2029 – nearly half the current Canadian market. Entrepreneurs are desperately looking out for the opportunity that cannabis legalization would offer.
ExpoWeed has been organized in Mexico City for the past four years, and recently Brenda Hernández set up a stall over the weekend to sell pipes, vapes and other items as well as to educate people about the benefits of cannabis, which Brenda admitted that she smokes every night before sleeping.
The 33-year-old founder of Chicks Vs Stigma said that she grew up with a ton of prejudices- she even looked down on people who used to smoke pot (marijuana). But her prejudices stripped away when her mother turned to marijuana to seek comfort from the painful back pain she had. Brenda later created an organization which encourages women to use marijuana without any shame for their own benefit.
A survey conducted by Mexico’s Center for Social Studies and Public Opinion in 2018 said that 50% of Mexicans have voted in opposition of marijuana legalization with 7 out of 10 people disapproving cannabis recreational use. However, when asked for particular use of legal medicinal cannabis, almost 90% said it was acceptable.