Things That Matter

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.

Diego Luna Talks The Importance Of The Storytelling In ‘Narcos: Mexico’ And Why Mexico City Will Always Be His Home

Entertainment

Diego Luna Talks The Importance Of The Storytelling In ‘Narcos: Mexico’ And Why Mexico City Will Always Be His Home

Courtesy of Netflix

Netflix’s “Narcos: Mexico” Season 2 comes back to continue the story of enigmatic drug lord Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo and the subsequent rise and fall of the Guadalajara cartel he founded in the 1970s, with Diego Luna reprising his role as the mysterious Félix Gallardo.

The show depicts how Félix Gallardo’s eloquence and strategic thinking helped him attain a swift rise to the apex of the Mexican drug cartels. 

For a man of which not much is widely known about, Luna reveals in this exclusive interview with mitú how he was able to dive into his character.

When preparing for this role, Luna said there wasn’t as much research material about El Padrino (Félix Gallardo’s alias) compared to the personal stories of other real-life personalities, such as El Chapo. 

“The good thing for me in playing this role is this man was a very discreet person, he understood the power of discretion,” Luna says.

It was important to see what people said about him—what people say or feel when they were around this character, this perception of him helps a lot. I had to do research and see what was a common answer—people talk about how intelligent and precise and strategic he was, and that’s how I wanted to portray and build this character,” Luna told mitú over the phone. 

Season 2 picks up after the murder of DEA agent Kiki Camarena, with Félix Gallardo enjoying political protection at his palatial home in Mexico.

It’s evident in the beginning scenes of this second season that his rags-to-riches story is starting to unravel and a bit of paranoia is starting to set in that he may have a knife (or gun) at his back at any moment. 

A running allegory used by the characters’ dialogues of the Roman Empire’s eventual collapse and Julius Caesar’s ultimate end foreshadows what we all know will happen to Félix Gallardo—his drug empire will eventually collapse in a smoke of cocaine dust. 

From crooked Mexican politicians and cops to ranch hands trying to make extra money delivering cocaine across the border, the show demonstrates the complicity among the cartels and how far the cartels’ reach.

“Narcos: Mexico” attempts to show that good and evil isn’t always black and white. The story highlights the gray area where even those committing corrupt acts are victims, Luna explained. 

“Some of the characters that take action are victims of the whole system,” Luna said in Spanish. 

The side of Mexico shown in “Narcos: Mexico” has been criticized by some as a side of Mexico stereotypically seen in the media.

However, Luna sees it as a side of the country that is real and must be discussed in order to move forward.

“When this season ends, I was 10 to 11 years old [at the time.] That decade was actually ending. It’s interesting to revisit that decade as an adult and research that Mexico my father was trying to hide from me [as a child],” Luna explained.

Luna says that this type of storytelling is important to understanding the fuller picture of Mexico.

The need for this type of storytelling—the stories that put a mirror up to a country to see the darkest side of itself—is vital, regardless of how complex it is to write scripts about all the facets of a country marred by political and judicial corruption. 

“In this case the story is very complex, it’s talking about a corrupt system that allows these stories to happen. We don’t tell stories like that—we simply everything. With this, I had a chance to understand that complexity. The journey of this character is a presentable journey. Power has a downside, and he gets there and he thinks he’s indispensable and clearly he is not,” Luna said. 

Outside of his role on “Narcos,” Luna is a vocal activist and is constantly working to put Mexico’s art and talent on an international stage through his work, vigilantly reminding his audience that Mexico has culture waiting to be explored past the resort walls of Cancún and Cabo. 

“The beauty of Mexico is that there are many Mexicos—it’s a very diverse country. You have the Pacific Coast that is beautiful and vibrant and really cool. By far my favorite beach spots in Mexico are in Oaxaca, and all the region of Baja California. You also have the desert and jungle and Veracruz and you have all the Caribbean coast and the city is to me a place I can’t really escape. Home is Mexico City, and it will always be where most of my love stories are and where I belong,” Luna said in a sort of love note aside to his home country. 

As much as Luna can talk endlessly about his favorite tacos in Mexico City (Tacos El Güero for any inquiring minds) and the gastronomic wonders of its pocket neighborhoods such as la Condesa, he also wants the dialogue around Mexico’s violence to be shown under a spotlight, as searing as it may be. 

“We can’t avoid talking about violence because if we stop, we normalize something that has to change,” Luna said. 

Perhaps “Narcos: Mexico” can bring some introspection and change after all. Let’s hope the politicians are watching.

READ: ‘Narcos: Mexico’ Season 2 Picks Up Where We Left Off With Félix Gallardo And The Guadalajara Cartel

Mexican Newspaper Slammed After Publishing Graphic Photos Of Woman’s Tragic Death

Things That Matter

Mexican Newspaper Slammed After Publishing Graphic Photos Of Woman’s Tragic Death

SkyNews/ Twitter

In Mexico, the recent brutal mutilation and slaying of a 25-year-old woman are spurning conversations about the country’s efforts to prevent femicide and laws that protect victims from the media.

On Sunday, Mexican authorities revealed that they had discovered the body of Ingrid Escamilla.

According to reports, Escamilla was found lifeless with her body skinned and many of her organs missing. At the scene, a 46-year-old man was also discovered alive. His body was covered in bloodstains and he was arrested.

As of this story wasn’t troubling enough, local tabloids and websites managed to bring more tragedy to the victim and her family by splashing leaked graphic photos and videos of the victim’s body. In a terribly crafted headline, one paper by the name of Pasala printed the photos on its front page with the headline “It was Cupid’s fault.” The headline is a reference to the fact that the man found at the scene was Escamilla’s husband.

According to leaked video footage from the arrest scene, Escamilla’s husband admitted to stabbing his wife after a heated argument in which she threatened to kill him. He then claimed to have skinned her body to eliminate evidence.

Mexic City’s mayor, Claudia Sheinbaum, revealed that prosecutors will demand the maximum sentence against the alleged perpetrator.

“Femicide is an absolutely condemnable crime. It is appalling when hatred reaches extremes like in the case of Ingrid Escamilla,” Sheinbaum wrote in a tweet according to CNN. According to reports, Mexico broke records in 2018 when its homicide record reached over 33,000 people that year.

The publication of Escamilla’s mutilated body has sparked discussions regarding the way in which reports about violence against women are handled.

Women’s rights organizations have lambasted the papers that originally published photos of Escamilla’s body and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador also expressed criticism of the media’s response to the brutal slaying.

In a press conference on Thursday, President López Obrador expressed his determination to find and punish anyone responsible for the image leaks. “This is a crime, that needs to be punished, whoever it is,” he stated.