Part of the answer began to present itself when I checked in for my flight from Detroit headed to León, Guanajuato, Mexico. I found that there are four flights daily from Detroit. Curious, I asked a fellow traveler why that is so. Turns out that if you want to find the U.S. automobile parts industry, it is in León. So is a vast pharmaceutical manufacturing infrastructure. So is a cutting edge computer parts industry. What better place than León, at former Mexican President Vicente Fox's hacienda, hotel, presidential library and convention center to hold an historic conference on the future of cannabis in Latin America?
Mexico produces 70% of vegetables and 40% of fruit imported into the United States. At one time, Mexico accounted for two thirds of all U.S. marijuana imports. There can be little doubt that Mexico has been and will be a big player in the developing global supply chain for cannabis. Things are evolving rapidly.
Recently, the Mexican Supreme Court declared absolute marijuana prohibition to be an unconstitutional infringement on liberty rights and on the fundamental right to self-development. Because this was the fifth time the Court has so ruled, the decision becomes binding precedent on all lower courts. Consequently, growing, possessing, and using marijuana for personal use is constitutionally protected in Mexico. As is the case in most civilized countries, the Mexican Constitution protects anyone on Mexican soil.
The Mexican legislature is working on implementing legislation that would establish the regulatory framework for a nascent legal industry. Former President Vicente Fox has become an opinion mover in this regard. Proposed rules would permit licensing for psychoactive and non-psychoactive uses as well as for "transformation" into finished products. The industry has been told to expect legislation before October.
The human capital involved in Mexico's initiative is broad and deep. Young (and old) attorneys are organizing to wrap protections around clients wishing to participate. Cooperatives and clubs are flourishing. Forums are being organized and held at the National Congress. Mothers of families are being capacitated, empowered, and trained on the benefits of the plant. Special mention to HLG friend and ally Lorena Beltrán, for her effective, persuasive advocacy and her vision of a rising tide lifting all boats. Abrazos, compañera.
A few days after the conference, current Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador called for the decriminalization of all drugs, pointing to the failure of the decades-long international war on drugs. He declared prohibition to be unsustainable and called for transferring funds to treatment programs instead of guns and international negotiation to make it be so.
So, why Mexico? Porque sí!