Legal status of marijuana in mexico

Legal status of marijuana in mexico
Luke Sumpter

South of the U.S. border, Mexico is getting on with reform. That said, its newest medical law leaves alot to be desired.

All things cannabis may take their due course north of the Rio Grande. With or without The Wall. One thing is for certain. Mexican federal cannabis reform is moving a lot faster than it is in the U.S. That said, it still lags behind Canada, Uruguay, Chile and Jamaica in the same hemisphere.

As of June 2017, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto published a bill making medical marijuana available and legal in Mexico. Cultivation for medical and scientific purposes is no longer illegal.

However it is likely that reform will not stop here. Bad news? No legal ganja themed spring break in Cancun next year. Good news? Keep it on the list. Rec reform is also well on the way even if stuck on slow.


Mexico has been moving into the pro-reform camp for some years now. It is perhaps the most important “border country” to the U.S. from a drug control perspective. For that reason, legalization here is seen as a political step away from the Drug War. Wall or no.

Yes, technically, marijuana is now legal on a medical basis. The catch? Only crops with 1% or less THC concentration will be included.

Is this a cop out on the eve of Canada’s push for full recreational reform next year? Mexican activists argue that it is.


An angry, Wall-threatening neighbour to the North is not Mexico's only problem. External pressures, in the form not just of the United States but the UN are at play here.

However this external pressure is only one issue. Internally, the government is facing a populace not only fed up with continued delays. Plus of course legal precedent on their side. That said, about 66% of Mexicans are still not copacetic with full recreational reform.

In November 2015, Mexico’s Supreme Court declared that laws that criminalized the possession, use and cultivation of marijuana violated basic human rights. The Court found that free expression of human rights include the right to consume marijuana for any purpose.

That legal decision made international waves at the time. However, so far, it has not translated into local action. There is still a long way to go, in other words, but the wheel is in fact, turning.

For tourists? Don’t buy more than 5 grams at a time, wherever you get your stash. It is not hard to find here – especially in touristy areas.

Technically, you are already allowed to have up to 5 grams of pot. More than that, and the police could slap you with fines. If you are really unlucky, or hauling a commercial-size load, you will face other significant problems.

Do not, under any circumstances, attempt to cross the border between the United States and Mexico with any pot on you. In either direction. Even if you are going by car. This is a form of Mexican Roulette.

This is an international drug war border that is still hot. Mess with that on your own recognizance.

There are also at present, less than ten people in the country with the right to grow for their own personal use. If you are not one of them, do not try this at home.

Between the Supreme Court ruling, domestic discontent with the status quo and events moving globally, Mexicans are ready to end the drug war. They are also very ready to end cannabis prohibition. Look for continued protest and agitation to move legislation closer to legal ruling.

Look for recreational here in about five years. In the meantime, crop strength will probably also go up, even if “just” for medical users.

Luke Sumpter
Luke Sumpter

Luke has worked as a cannabis journalist and health science researcher for the past seven years. Over this time, he’s developed an advanced understanding of endocannabinoid system science, cannabis phytochemistry, and cultivation techniques.