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Marijuana Legalization Is On The Horizon For Mexico. What Might The Legislation Look Like, And How Might It Affect International Relations?




Marijuana plants are grown at Essence Vegas' 54,000-square-foot marijuana cultivation facility in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Marijuana plants are grown at Essence Vegas' 54,000-square-foot marijuana cultivation facility in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

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Two years ago, Mexico’s Supreme Court struck down a ban on marijuana as unconstitutional. Now, lawmakers are scrambling to make a Dec. 15 deadline to pass legislation that would legalize marijuana in the country.

Legislators are enmeshed in an ongoing debate over what form legalization should take. Activists criticized an early draft of legislation, which they said favored big businesses and could result in the criminalization of consumers, an unpopular suggestion given that one of the more attractive arguments for legalization would be to reduce pressure on Mexico’s penal system. But most stakeholders agree that legalization will almost certainly result in a reduction of cartel-related violence in Mexico. Yet the extent of that reduction is unknown, as pot legalization in parts of the United States has already decreased U.S. demand for Mexican marijuana. While legalization may have some effect on cartels, the greatest question mark hangs over the heads of the farmer’s themselves— will legislation help them become part of the legal market? Or will the law privilege big, foreign deals with American and Canadian companies?

Today on AirTalk, we’re learning more about what marijuana legalization would mean for Mexico, and how it could alter the drug trade landscape for cartels. Questions? Give us a call at 866-893-5722.

Guests:

Kate Linthicum, reporter for the Los Angeles Times who is based in Mexico City and has been following the story; she tweets @katelinthicum

Duncan Wood, director of the Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute; he tweets @AztecDuncan