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Mexico’s Supreme Court Told Lawmakers They Had To Pass A Bill Legalizing Marijuana And Now They’re One Step Closer

Over the past two years, milestones and history have been made with regularity for the cannabis industry. Last year, for example, we witnessed Canada become the first industrialized country in the world to give the green light to recreational marijuana. Regulations concerning cannabis derivatives (e.g.’s edibles, infused beverages, vapes, topicals, and concentrates) also went into effect last week.

Outside Canada, we’ve seen 33 U.S. states legalize the use of medical marijuana, to some degree, over the past 23 years, 11 of which have also waved the green flag on adult consumption. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration also approved the very first cannabis-derived drug last year to treat two rare forms of childhood-onset epilepsy.

And the milestones just keep coming.

Mexico has introduced a plan to legalize recreational marijuana across the nation.

On Oct. 17, 2019, a number of Mexican Senate committees unveiled draft legislation that would make our neighbor to the south the third country worldwide, after Uruguay and Canada, to legalize recreational marijuana. As reported by Canamo Mexico and Marijuana Moment, the 74 article, 42-page draft is similar to a bill proposed last year by Interior Secretary Olga Sanchez Cordero, who was then serving as a senator. However, the current legislation also incorporates bits and pieces of numerous other legislative proposals, and may be further modified by input received from the public.

Here are eight things you should know about Mexico’s groundbreaking cannabis bill, which seems to be very close to becoming law. 

The bill is mostly just a formality since Mexico’s Supreme Court has already effectively legalized it.

To begin with, you should understand that Mexico’s push toward adult-use legalization is really just a formality at this point.

You see, Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled last year that a ban on the recreational use and possession of cannabis was unconstitutional. This was the fifth time that Mexico’s highest court had reached a similar verdict. In Mexico, when the Supreme Court reaches a similar verdict five time, it becomes the set standard. Thus, recreational marijuana has already, in theory, been legalized by the Mexican Supreme Court. It’s simply a matter of lawmakers drawing up the rules and regulations that’ll govern the industry by putting pen to paper.

Mexico will legalize marijuana for all users over the age of 18.

One of the most glaring differences you’ll see between Mexico’s legislation and select U.S. states and Canada is that the minimum age of purchase and possession is slated to be set at only 18 in our neighbor to the south. Mexico has a considerably larger population than Canada (127.6 million versus 37.4 million), and the fact that adults three years younger in Mexico could potentially become consumers might make the Mexican market all that more attractive to the pot industry.

And like in most jurisdiction that have legalized marijuana, use will only be allowed in private.

As should be little surprise, the initial draft calls for the consumption of recreational marijuana to occur only in private spaces. This is consistent with pretty much every U.S. state and Canada. Although the first cannabis café opened in West Hollywood, Calif., just three weeks ago, pot cafes and other non-private places of consumption are a rarity, and it’s likely to remain that way for the foreseeable future throughout North America.

Also, Mexico will have very strict packaging restrictions.

Also consistent with the message that’s being sent throughout legalized North American markets, Mexico’s recreational weed legislation calls for packaging to be nondescript, and for no real people or fictional characters to appear on that packaging. Mexico, like Canada and the U.S., is trying to use these tough regulations to (pardon the pun) weed out illegal production, as well as discourage adolescents from being lured to cannabis products.

And edibles and beverages will only be available on the medicinal market to those with a prescription.

Arguably the most interesting aspect of Mexico’s recreational marijuana draft legislation is that it would only allow for medical marijuana patients to purchase edibles and cannabis-infused beverages. That’s meaningful from an investment perspective given that derivatives almost always bear considerably higher margins for growers than dried cannabis flower. Medical marijuana has been legal in Mexico since June 2017.

There will be a central agency charged with regulation and enforcement.

Similar to the setup in Canada, a central agency, known as the Cannabis Institute, will be responsible for overseeing Mexico’s marijuana industry. The Cannabis Institute would be delegated with setting potency limits for recreational weed, implementing whatever legislation is passed, and issuing cultivation and/or sales licenses. Surprisingly, Health Canada has proven to be more of a crutch than an aide in the early going for the Canadian pot industry, so it’ll be interesting to see how well the Cannabis Institute performs, assuming this is, indeed, the legislation that becomes law in Mexico.

Mexico is also protecting Indigenous farmers by giving them priority over foreign-owned big businesses.

Another important thing investors should know is that major North American cannabis businesses aren’t going to be given priority in terms of being awarded licenses. The draft legislation calls for low-income individuals, small farmers, and indigenous peoples to have licensing priority in Mexico. This is likely being done to ensure that Mexico’s economy, and not foreign companies, benefit most, as well as keeps the Mexican recreational market as competitive as possible.

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The Little-Known Underground Railroad That Ran South to Mexico

Culture

The Little-Known Underground Railroad That Ran South to Mexico

Tyrone Turner / Getty Images

Latinos make up the largest minority group in the country, yet our history is so frequently left out of classrooms. From Chicano communities in Texas and California to Latinos in the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s and the Underground Railroad – which also had a route into Mexico – Latinos have helped shape and advance this country.

And as the U.S. is undergoing a racial reckoning around policing and systemic racism, Mexico’s route of the Underground Railroad is getting renewed attention – particularly because Mexico (for the very first time in history) has counted its Afro-Mexican population as its own category in this year’s census.

The Underground Railroad also ran south into Mexico and it’s getting renewed attention.

Most of us are familiar with stories of the Underground Railroad. It was a network of clandestine routes and safe houses established in the U.S. during the early to mid-19th century. It was used by enslaved African Americans to escape into free states and Canada. It grew steadily until the Civil War began, and by one estimate it was used by more than 100,000 enslaved people to escape bondage.

In a story reported on by the Associated Press, there is renewed interest in another route on the Underground Railroad, one that went south into Mexico. Bacha-Garza, a historian, dug into oral family histories and heard an unexpected story: ranches served as a stop on the Underground Railroad to Mexico. Across Texas and parts of Louisiana, Alabama, and Arkansas, scholars and preservation advocates are working to piece together the story of a largely forgotten part of American history: a network that helped thousands of Black slaves escape to Mexico.

According to Maria Hammack, a doctoral candidate at the University of Texas at Austin studying the passage of escapees who crossed the borderlands for sanctuary in Mexico, about 5,000 to 10,000 people broke free from bondage into the southern country. Currently, no reliable figures currently exist detailing how many left to Mexico, unlike the more prominent transit into Canada’s safe haven.

Mexico abolished slavery a generation before Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.

Thirty-four years before Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, in 1829, Mexican President Vicente Guerrero, who was of mixed background, including African heritage, abolished slavery in the country. The measure freed an estimated 200,000 enslaved Africans Spain forcefully brought over into what was then called New Spain and would later open a pathway for Blacks seeking freedom in the Southern U.S.

And he did so while Texas was still part of the country, in part prompting white, slave-holding immigrants to fight for independence in the Texas Revolution. Once they formed the Republic of Texas in 1836, they made slavery legal again, and it continued to be legal when Texas joined the U.S. as a state in 1845.

With the north’s popular underground railroad out of reach for many on the southern margins, Mexico was a more plausible route to freedom for these men and women.

Just like with the northern route, helping people along the route was dangerous and could land you in serious trouble.

Credit: Library of Congress / Public Domain

Much like on the railway’s northern route into Canada, anyone caught helping African-Americans fleeing slavery faced serious and severe consequences.

Slaveholders were aware that people were escaping south, and attempted to get Mexico to sign a fugitive slave treaty that would, like the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 that demanded free states to return escapees, require Mexico to deliver those who had left. Mexico, however, refused to sign, contending that all enslaved people were free once they reached Mexican soil. Despite this, Hammock said that some Texans hired what was called “slave catchers” or “slave hunters” to illegally cross into the country, where they had no jurisdiction, to kidnap escapees.

“The organization that we know today as the Texas Rangers was born out of an organization of men that were slave hunters,” Hammack, who is currently researching how often these actions took place, told the AP. “They were bounty hunters trying to retrieve enslaved property that crossed the Rio Grande for slave owners and would get paid according to how far into Mexico the slaves were found.”

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Mexico Wants American Tourists Despite Ongoing Covid Pandemic

Culture

Mexico Wants American Tourists Despite Ongoing Covid Pandemic

VV Nincic / Flickr

Covid-19 has ended a lot of stuff for a lot of people. The most obvious change has been to international travel, especially for Americans. As the virus has spread widely across the U.S. countries have put a halt to allowing American tourist within their border, but not Mexico.

Covid-19 has severly depreciated the American passport.

Once capable of unlocking so many countries, the U.S. passport is no longer helping Americans travel abroad. Instead, the American passport has now become a hindrance for global travelers. Most countries have placed restrictions on American tourists making the U.S. passport one of the weakest.

The countries banning the U.S. are doing so because of the state of the virus in the country.

There have been more than 7 million cases of Covid-19 and more than 200,000 deaths from the virus. The U.S. remains the worst hit country and the global epicenter of the deadly virus. Many blame the lack of a national strategy to properly close down, test citizens, and contact trace those who have been exposed as the reason the virus has been so devastating in the U.S.

The various travel bans have kept families apart.

Other nations went into mush stricter lockdowns that the U.S. and got a handle of the virus. European countries have gotten the virus under control after months and the U.S. continues to see a large number of new cases daily.

One of the countries allowing Americans to visit is Mexico.

Mexico is heavily reliant on the money made from the tourism industry. According to official statistics, the tourism industry is the third-largest contributor to the country’s GDP. Major tourist destinations like Cabo and Cancún saw dramatic dips in tourism leading to national and local figures to sound the alarm. According to The Washington Post, the questions was posed about when to allow the tourists from the U.S. back, not should they.

Los Cabos is one of the hardest-hit tourist destinations.

The tourist destination saw a severe decline in tourists during one of the busiest times of the year. According to The Washington Post, the resort city has lost 80 percent of its revenue because of Covid-19. The virus has brought financial devastation to people across the world and the cities they live in aren’t immune to failing themselves.

“It’s life or death for us,” Rodrigo Esponda, the head of the Los Cabos tourism board, told The Washington Post. “There’s nothing else here. No industrial production. No farming or commercial fishing. It’s tourism or nothing.”

Yet, Los Cabos should be a warning sign to the rest of Mexico.

Cases in Baja California, the state where Los Cabos is located, saw new Covid case numbers triple from 50 a day to 150. The increase in infections is to be expected as the state rolled out the welcome mat for Americans coming to visit the resort town.

“There are some residents who say, ‘Why put my family’s life in danger by inviting more visitors, restarting more flights?’” Luis Humberto Araiza López, tourism minister of Baja California Sur, told The Washington Post. “It’s a delicate line between trying to support public health and economic growth.”

Despite this, there are some countries that Americans can travel to.

The countries Americans can travel to without Covid restrictions are Albania, Belarus, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Mexico, North Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey, and Zambia. As the world continues to open up, Americans who travel abroad are waiting for the U.S. government to get the virus under control. Until then, the U.S. passport is not the same it used to be.

READ: The U.S. Passport Was Once The World’s Strongest, It’s Fallen To 25th Place Thanks To Failed Leadership Amid Coronavirus

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