Mexico Joins Canada In Legalizing Cannabis For Medical Use

by Evan Glazman | 3 hours ago

Well, at least on the issue of cannabis reform, the United States is no longer in a leadership position on the North American continent.

Our two closest geographic allies have recently taken a hugely important step out of the nearly 60-year disaster that has been the War on Drugs. Mexico just joined our Canadian neighbors to the north in legalizing cannabis for medicinal use.

(Photo: Alejandro Godinez/Getty Images)

While this is great news for the Mexican people, it should be a wakeup call for Americans. Are we about to be left behind in one of the most lucrative, rapidly growing new markets in the world? Not to mention the massive criminal justice reform that would accompany legalization...

Current Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto had opposed the legalization of medical marijuana in Mexico as recently as a year ago, but he began to change his position after growing public outcries for reform in 2016. His recent legislation will open up research into the potential medical benefits of cannabis, as well as facilitating work on programs aimed at preventing children and adolescents from gaining access to cannabis.

The Drug War has ravaged Mexico, with an average of 20,000 deaths per year since 2006 being linked to drug cartel violence. The country had long been clamoring for a shift in policy away from the futile drug war, and Pena Nieto delivered.

To the north, the Canadian Parliament - having legalized medical cannabis last year - will soon take up a measure to legalize recreational cannabis use for adults, taxing and regulating the substance similarly to alcohol.

(Photo: National Cannabis Industry Association)

Meanwhile, the USA is going in the opposite direction, falling back on a retrograde prohibition stance that has failed time and time again. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Trump administration are posturing like they want to ramp up federal enforcement of cannabis' Schedule 1 status, which puts it on the same level as heroin and cocaine as drugs of abuse with no medical value.

Sessions is on record sharing his ignorant and downright offensive opinion that "good people don't smoke marijuana."

A bi-partisan group of Senators recently introduced legislation that would protect state governments and their cannabis programs from the kind of federal overreach that Jeff Sessions and Trump advisors seem eager to pursue. That's a mildly encouraging development, but overall ,America's leadership seems to be sliding backwards into the past regarding the federal stance on cannabis.

Congratulations to Mexico and Canada for their recent decisions to embrace evidence-based science, democracy and cannabis law reform!