Photo by Sam Cavenagh

Mexico Misses Another Marijuana Legalization Deadline

Mexican lawmakers this week again failed to meet a Supreme Court deadline to end marijuana prohibition in that country after spending months going back and forth on a legalization bill that passed both chambers of Congress in differing forms.

The Mexican Supreme Court ruled that prohibition was unconstitutional in 2018, and since then Mexico has been expected to become the third, and largest, country in the world to legalize, following Uruguay and Canada. But what will happen next is uncertain. There has been progress in drafting and advancing legalization legislation, and senators have twice requested deadline extensions that the court granted.

The court will soon have to make a general declaration about the unconstitutionality of marijuana prohibition.

This session, it seemed like reform would be a done deal. The Mexican Senate approved a legalization bill late last year, and the Chamber of Deputies made revisions and passed it in March, sending it back to the Senate. A couple of Senate committees took up and cleared the amended measure, but leaders quickly started signaling that certain revisions made the proposal unworkable.

As the court’s latest April 30 deadline approached, there was an expectation that the Senate would again ask for an extension, but that didn’t happen this time. Instead, lawmakers have begun floating the idea of holding a special legislative session after June’s elections.

Advocates, including those with Mexico Unido, are now pushing for a special session. “We are in uncharted territory,” Zara Snapp, a legalization activist with the Instituto RIA and the coalition #RegulacionPorLaPaz, said.

The court will soon have to make a general declaration about the unconstitutionality of marijuana prohibition. One potential complication is that the court now has a different makeup, with some new justices, from when it first ruled to strike down criminalization in 2018. As a result, it’s not clear if there is currently a majority that would back a similar finding.

Further court action would likely take place before a special legislative session, and so what might happen in the interim is an open question.

This piece is a part of a content sharing arrangement between The News Station and Marijuana Moment.

Kyle Jaeger is Marijuana Moment's Los Angeles-based associate editor. His work has also appeared in High Times, VICE, etc.

Kyle Jaeger is Marijuana Moment's Los Angeles-based associate editor. His work has also appeared in High Times, VICE, etc.

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