Mexico City Moving Toward Marijuana Legalization

not legalized yetUsfirstgov/WikipediaMexico City, the second most populous city in the Western hemisphere, is moving toward being the latest American jurisdiction to legalize marijuana. The leftist political power in the city previously legalized abortion (in 2007) and gay marriage (in 2009). A newly elected mayor, Miguel Mancera of the left-wing PRD, may seek to make marijuana reform part of his legacy. Several members of the city’s assembly, a state legislature of sorts in the federal district, plan on submitting bills at the end of the month to legalize and regulate marijuana.

Left-wing supporters of the legalization effort want to fight the drug cartels and profit in general. They envision a model of cannabis clubs, both to circumvent federal laws and in an effort to keep profit out of the drug trade. Time reports:

Lawmakers are considering the idea of associations with up to 100 members, who would pay a subscription and receive about 50 grams or 1.76 ounces of marijuana per month. The Mexican drug policy reform group Cuphid, which has done extensive research into the issue, believes such clubs could comprise 70 percent of the Mexico City marijuana market, which it estimates is now worth about $30 million a year. “With clubs, marijuana can be regulated without profits, and give the users control,” says Cuphid director Jorge Hernandez. “They can open a space to show that regulation is better than denial and failed prohibition.” Mexico City could be used as a laboratory for policy makers across the country—and, indeed, the continent—to observe and learn from, Hernandez says.

Mexico has already decriminalized the possession of up to about a sixth of an ounce of marijuana, but critics say police still target users holding just north of that quantity. Legalizing marijuana through cannabis clubs is a start, but opening the marijuana industry to legal trade would unleash far greater economic potential. A $30 million a year market could become a billion dollar year business, given the Mexico City market’s large size.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    in an effort to keep profit out of the drug trade

    I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that they're going to fail at that. Miserably. I realize I'm staking out an incredibly radical stance here, but I just have to do it.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    Somehow they will still manage to blame their violence problem on us. I just know it.

  • Agammamon||

    Do they address *where* the pot is coming from? 'Cause it seems to me that its still going to be grown by the cartels or smuggled up from further south (by the cartels) so I don't see how anything short of legalizing *grow* operations will keep the cartels from making money.

  • StonerNation||

    Hopefully another domino falls. I am glad that CO and WA are leading the charge for legalization. This shows other states how they can reduce state costs by not arresting, prosecuting, and incarcerating marijuana related crimes and actually make money by taxing marijuana to strengthen the state's social services and infrastructure. Legalize It, Regulate It, Tax It!
    Follow Us on Twitter @StonerNationCom


Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties