Mexico may soon become the biggest legal cannabis market in the world after the country’s Chamber of Deputies approved a legislation last week that would legalize recreational sales of cannabis. The Senate is expected to support the legislation in the days to come.
Mexico president Andrés Manuel López Obrador from the MORENA party strongly supports the bill. The president is expected to sign the legislation in the coming days.
Many speculate that this move may pressure President Joe Biden to federally legalize the plant in the United States as well since the country will be sandwiched between the two largest legal cannabis markets globally: Mexico and Canada.
To put it into context, Mexico has a population of roughly 130 million people. Legalizing marijuana at the national level would make it the biggest country to do so as the other two nations that have done so, Uruguay and Canada, have a 3.4 million and 37.6 million people respectively. Even when combined, however, their populations don’t make up even a third of Mexico’s population.
Director of the Mexico Institute at the Wilson Center Andrew Rudman mentioned that, with many of the U.S. House members representing states with legal marijuana markets, the federal government of the United States may be pressured to legalize or decriminalize the plant or at least, loosen restrictions on it. Earlier in December, the U.S. House approved bills that would do away with past cannabis convictions and end federal penalties for cannabis possession. With Democrats being the majority in the Senate under the Biden administration, the likelihood for cannabis restrictions being loosened has increased. However, some marijuana policy watchers are doubtful that there will be a huge change made with regard to federal policy any time soon.
The president’s stance on the matter doesn’t seem too positive on the federal legalization front either. President Biden has stated that he wants to broaden medical research on cannabis and end criminal penalties but does not support full legalization of cannabis. On the other hand, Vice President Kamala Harris was a sponsor of the Senate version of the legislation that the House approved in the last session.
Despite his stance on full cannabis legalization, President Biden nominated Xavier Becerra, who up until recently was the California Attorney General, to be the Health and Human Services secretary. Becerra is a strong backer of cannabis legalization, and many are hopeful that under his leadership, Health and Human Services could revise its 2015 outlook that stated that cannabis had no medicinal benefits.
Many companies have opted to operate within the state-legal cannabis markets as they wait for any reforms to be implemented at the federal level. One such entity is Golden Leaf Holdings Ltd. (CSE: GLH) (OTCQB: GLDFF) which, through its five brands, is thriving in California, Nevada and Oregon.
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