Mexican lawmakers continue to give assurances that the country's long-delayed cannabis law will be passed by the end of December this year, when its current term ends. Meanwhile, activists are trying to take matters into their own hands by proposing regulations for consuming weed in public areas.
Last Monday, Senate President Ricardo Monreal Avila of the ruling Morena party said he and his colleagues agreed at a meeting of the Political Coordination Council to prioritize the cannabis law, and that they intend to pass it next month.
But this is not the first time the politician has expressed his intentions to move forward with the legislation.
Last month, Monreal said in a statement that legalization would lead to the suspension of registrations for people charged with minor cannabis offenses, and that cannabis could bring in $1,1 billion in tax revenue.
In September, Senator Julio Ramon Menchaca Salazar said in a plenary session that the cannabis law would be finalized in the next period of legislative sessions, after the Health Commission discussed the bill.
On November 4, the prominent activist group Plantón 420 staged a peaceful demonstration involving cannabis activists from the Supreme Court to Congress in Mexico ran to remind lawmakers that their rights are not yet respected.
“At the federal level, we still don't have an answer to our four fundamental human rights demands. So we are remembering to continue to freely exercise our right to peaceful protest, cultivate quietly and smoke as we have done since 2019,” a recent statement from the group reads.
The action group explained that without changing the Civil Culture Act, the police in Mexico City anyone who uses cannabis can be arrested, despite the Supreme Court declaring that using cannabis is not a criminal offence.
The statement also mentions how cannabis consumption is “more scandalous” on a social level, while having medical properties and being less dangerous than tobacco.
“We get this unfair and undignified treatment by the law, and simply because people don't like the smell of the plant or the idea of consuming it, as well as the stigmas and prejudices of a 'stoner getting high' and not because the person infringes on their rights.”
Plantón 420 proposed the following eight guidelines for responsible cannabis use in public spaces:
- Promoting responsible use of cannabis to reduce negative stigma surrounding cannabis users
- Use designated smoking areas such as tobacco consumption areas
- No smoking near children or playgrounds
- Watch out for smoke emissions so as not to bother others
- No sale or purchase of cannabis in public places
- Do not throw cannabis residues on the floor and keep consumption areas clean
- Don't expect people to share or give cannabis as a gift
- Use your forearm to cover your mouth when coughing in a consumption room
Since 2018, the Supreme Court has declared cannabis use a human right and demanded that lawmakers enact a law, a process that has already missed several deadlines.
In lieu of legal cannabis legislation, ministers amended articles of the General Health Act to lift the administrative ban on cannabis and issued a declaration of unconstitutionality on July 15.
One of the changes is that Mexican citizens currently have to obtain a permit from the Federal Commission for the Protection of Health Risks (COFEPRIS) and if not, they will be arrested and prosecuted.