Against all the odds, the US could potentially beat Mexico in the race to legalise marijuana.
Mexico should have passed legislation on
October 31 that would have decriminalised cannabis for recreational use.
However, some dithering from the government
has seen lawmakers spectacularly overshoot a deadline set by the Supreme Court
in 2018 to have the regulation in place – despite promises from the head of the
leading MORENA party, Senator Ricardo Monreal, that cannabis would be legalised
before the end of
Soon after the country completed a public
consultation, Monreal pledged to get the legislation over the line.
“We’re thinking that we’ll bring the law out,
approve it, at the end of October,” he said at the start of October.
“That’s the schedule we have.”
The 59-year-old has, however, been on the receiving
end of a raft of criticism following the complete failure to meet the deadline.
Confusion over the proposed legal reforms has now left the government in disarray
on all sides.
Meanwhile, in the US, the drive towards full legalisation of marijuana at a Federal level is gathering pace.
Three weeks ago, the House Judiciary
Committee-approved the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement
(MORE) Act of 2019. The committee vote was a staggering 24-10 in favour of
advancing the bill which would remove cannabis from Schedule 1 of the
Controlled Substances Act.
The momentum is undoubtedly with the cannabis
legalisation movement and even if the bill faces a stiff test in the Senate, where many Republicans
and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell staunchly oppose weed, it’s hard to
ignore the fact that almost all presidential candidates favour legalisation.
Given that the handbrake appears to be firmly stuck
on Mexico’s marijuana machine, while the US runaway rollercoaster is at full speed,
the reformation race could have an unlikely winner.
“Rewind the clock by two months and the current situation is almost unthinkable,” explains American political analyst Marco Vintner.
“At the start of October there was only one outcome here – that Mexico would legalise cannabis before the 31st, and that the US would probably only start talking seriously about Federal reform by the end of next year with a new president.
“Yet here we are, faced with a quite staggering
outcome – in fact I’m still in a state of disbelief over Mexico’s abject
failure to execute the wishes of the Supreme Court.”
The curious legislative twist in both nations will
do nothing for the cross-border relations which have been strained for many
years. If anything, says Vintner, it will only fuel historic rivalry.
“At the minute, we have two nations which have not
yet fully legalised cannabis, but if you take history into account this may actually
be a positive for the industry,” he explained.
“There’s a real competition between the US and Mexico,
so you can only imagine what is being said in the corridors of power as each
country vies to be the one to green light marijuana.
“And, at the minute, I’d say the money is on the US to triumph in that race.”