Mexico has long been associated with cannabis. Gone are the days of only black market growing and distribution operations, while a new landscape of education, deregulation, and acceptance drives a push for this country of 129.2 million people to join its northern neighbors towards legalization. These new trends, both local and worldwide, have created contemporary changes that dictate the current climate and future potential of the Mexican cannabis market.
Mexico is the second most populated country in Latin America and has an estimated 1.4 million cannabis consumers and over 850,000 regular users. These statistics show the potential for demand, success, and profits in a developing market. Potential market revenues for the country’s overall cannabis sales reach in excess of $2 billion and could create an estimated 50,000-75,000 jobs.
Mexico legalized medical cannabis use in 2017, allowing the sale, use, and import of cannabis and related products to those with a medical condition. Following Canada’s broad legalization of cannabis in late 2018, Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador sent a government delegation to discuss the legalization efforts with Canadian officials. Following these initial developments, a bill was submitted to Mexican Congress in support of full legalization. These occurrences have many experts expecting widespread legalization in Mexico in the near future, potentially as early as the current year. In fact, the Mexican Supreme Court has imposed a deadline of October 2019 for the Senate to amend current laws and lay the regulatory framework for legal cannabis in the country.
Legal cannabis in Mexico would pave the way to large market expansion and put the country near the top of international cannabis production and profits. If predictions are accurate, Mexico will become the third country behind Uruguay and Canada to fully legalize cannabis. While the upside to the Mexican cannabis market is enormous, considerable hurdles still exist, such as dismantling long-held cartel control and crime in the country associated with the cannabis trade, alongside exporting issues associated with cannabis still being illegal at the federal level in the US. Look for these issues to be addressed and ironed out in coming months as Mexico seems poised to step into full legalization while becoming a major player in the international cannabis market.