An unfortunate fact about politics is that it is not free from outside influence and – occasionally – corruption. This became apparent as Mexico’s legalization deadline approached.
Shocked by the sudden influx of corporate pressure, Mexico decided to delay voting on the bill, despite being on track to meet their deadline, according to Marijuana Business Daily.
However, this could prove complicated, given that the entire process began due to a Supreme Court mandate. Hopefully, the move will provide protection from corporate agendas in Mexico’s legalization process.
Corporate Lobbyists Swarm Legislators
A legal marijuana industry represents a huge economic opportunity for Mexico. Nobody understands this better than companies either already involved with or interested in joining the new cannabis market.
Unfortunately, many of these organizations and groups overstepped their boundaries and started pushing hard to influence the legislation. Marijuana Business Daily explains:
“Citing ‘unprecedented’ pressure from companies trying to influence Mexico’s cannabis legislation, voting on a bill to completely legalize marijuana – including its recreational use – will be delayed, according to media reports. Ricardo Monreal, president of the Senate’s Political Coordination Board (Jucopo) – a governing body of the chamber – told Milenio the bill ‘won’t be voted on this week, as was planned.’”
Had it not been for this sudden influx, the bill would have been voted on by October 29th. Now, thanks to these aforementioned lobbyists, the legislation will be addressed in in early November.
Trying to “Shield Legislators”
It is rather commendable that the Mexican government recognizes the dangers of outside influencers, be they corporate lobbyists, special interest groups or other organizations. According to Marijuana Business Daily, the government is taking steps to distance itself from outside influence:
“Monreal said Jucopo will now ensure that lobbying in the Senate remains under control. He said the body would ‘shield’ legislators from external influences, according to Excelsior. The responsibility of the bill would remain within the combined commissions of Justice, Health and Legislative Studies.”
By keep these influencers at arms length, it ensures that the legalization bill will be written to benefit consumers and the industry.
Supreme Court Complications
Postponing the legislative vote until November would not be a huge issue under normal circumstances, but this situation is far from normal.
Mexico’s move to legalize marijuana was not voluntary, with the Supreme Court adamant that the country stick to the previously allotted deadline.
Nonetheless, the Mexican government applied for an extension. So far, six judges support the extension, but eight votes in favour are needed. This is where things become murky:
“…at least eight members of the Supreme Court are needed to vote favorably. Six already declared to be in favor, but one declared to be against, and there’s uncertainty about the remaining three votes.”
Further complicating matters is that the court has started on a declaration of unconstitutionality. This means they can strike down any legislation considered unconstitutional. If they go down this route, it would automatically allow home cultivation of cannabis, but not a framework for the production, distribution or sale of recreational marijuana.