The medical marijuana market in Mexico is about to be booming due to some recent major changes set forth by the Mexican government. The industry now has the opportunity to be worth anywhere from $10 to $12 billion annually in the country. Many of these changes have been sparked by states in the US that have legalized marijuana for medicinal uses — raising questions about whether the country is paying too high of a price for the “war on drugs.”
Enrique Peña Nieto, the current President of Mexico, announced that he would be sending a bill to the Senate. The bill would legalize the medicinal uses of marijuana as well as increase the amount that an individual may possess at any given time. As much as 64 percent of Mexicans support legalization of the plant, according to a February survey.
The bill would free any individual on trial or in jail for possession of marijuana up to one ounce – and Peña Nieto says this is a way to decriminalize the consumption of the drug. Individuals, as long as they have a prescription, would be able to carry up to one ounce for personal use. Right now, the federal law in the country prohibits the production, sale, and possession of marijuana, even medical marijuana. However, having less than 5 grams is only punishable with a fine.
Peña Nieto has not supported the legalization of medical marijuana for quite some time. In fact, his stance was the opposite of what he said on April 21. Previously, he has stated that he did not want to relax the country’s drug laws as there were other ways to reduce the power of organized crime. He also stated that he would not put children’s health at risk by legalizing marijuana to fund the war on drugs. He was firm in the belief that the drug damages the health of both children and adults.
His stance has clearly changed and he made sure it was known at the U.N. General Assembly’s special session (UNGASS) in New York on April 21. Some theories on why he changed his mind on marijuana legalization revolve around some very public forums held in Mexico on the subject. These forums revealed the strong support of legalization for medical marijuana in the country.
The medicinal marijuana market has the potential to be huge in Mexico. While 64 percent of respondents to the survey support the legalization of the drug, 71 percent of respondents were opposed to legalizing it for recreational use. It is estimated that there are around 5 million marijuana users in the country. Currently, organized crime is the largest producer of the drug in the country. There are more and more smaller growers coming to the market, though, and they have been able to create stronger strains.
On February 1 of this year, Medical Marijuana Inc. (OTC: MJNA), a U.S. Company, got permission to import the first-ever cannabis product into Mexico, to be used to treat epilepsy in children there. The product, RSHO-X™ does not contain the psychoactive THC, and is mainly focused on CBD hemp-based cannabidiol. Individuals in the country can currently import RSHO-X™ with a government-issued permit but if the medical marijuana bill is passed, it will become easier for families to get this drug. This can also be the first of many medical marijuana products that can help countless individuals in the country achieve better health and wellness.
Stuart Titus, the CEO of Medical Marijuana Inc., believes that the medical marijuana market in Mexico could generate as much as $10-$12 billion annually. The number comes from comparing the market to the industry estimates for California which has estimated the same amount. The company sponsored and participated in several public forums revolving around medical marijuana legalization in Mexico.
While many people may be opposed to the legalization of marijuana in the country, there are several health benefits as long as the substance is used in the correct way. That is why it was such a large step forward when it became legal for families with government-issued permits to import RSHO-X™. When used correctly, there are many ways that people can benefit from using the substance. For now, it is best to keep an eye on this bill and see how it progresses. This is a great step forward for the medical marijuana market in Latin America and around the world.
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