Mexico procrastinates on cannabis legalization


The entrance to the building has no indication, but the three floors of this small building in the south of Mexico City are well rented by the JointClub, the first “cannabis club” in Mexico, created by the Joint With association. US in 2021. From the stair railing, the cannabis leaf is found on all the graffiti.

The first floor offers a studious atmosphere, where you work on your computer while having a coffee. On the second floor, however, the atmosphere is much more fun: you can play billiards, table football or video games. A counter welcomes customers on stools but here, it is the ashtrays and hookahs (water pipes) that take pride of place, and not the glasses of alcohol. The highlight is of course the terrace, where you can admire the view both of the city and of the 36 marijuana plants – from five different varieties – which grow under the shelter of a white veil.

The 70 “clients” are in reality associates of the club and can consume, here or at home, up to 28 grams of marijuana per month in exchange for a monthly membership of 75 euros. “The club is responsible for obtaining a permit for them so that they can cultivate, consume or transport marijuana without risking legal problems”explains lawyer Fernando Dominguez, also one of the founders of this club.

At first glance, cannabis appears to be legalized in Mexico. “Only if you have a good lawyer”specifies Zara Snapp, director of the RIA Institute, specializing in the country’s drug policies. “Cannabis remains illegal, but there are exceptions to this illegality thanks to civil society, which has been fighting constantly for more than ten years in the legal field,” she continues.

” Obstacle course “

However, Mexico had shown great openness on the issue in recent years. In 2017, first, Congress authorized the medical use of cannabis and then, above all, in 2021, the Supreme Court decriminalized recreational use for adults, and its use is no longer an offense in the penal code .

Also read (2021) | Article reserved for our subscribers Mexico decriminalizes recreational cannabis use under conditions

But the legislation supposed to provide a legal framework for its marketing never saw the light of day and gave rise to an unusual battle between deputies and senators. “The Senate had developed a particularly advanced piece of legislation, but the deputies changed 49 of the 61 articles. Suffice it to say that the senators never wanted to defend a totally distorted text”explains Zara Snapp.

The clubs, just like the “plantations” at home, operate on the basis of an authorization, difficult to obtain, from the Federal Commission for Protection against Health Risks (Cofepris). “It’s an obstacle course, but it works: we request authorization from Cofepris, which will refuse it. We therefore appeal to a judge, who will agree with us, and we finally obtain a permit from Cofepris after almost ten months of procedures”explains lawyer Emilio Rascon, president of the Barbarossa’s association, in the state of Chihuahua (northern Mexico), which has developed a guide to facilitate permit requests by users.

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