History of CBD and Cannabis: Mexico
Though cannabis is technically illegal in Mexico, personal consumption and small cannabis agriculture is largely permitted by local law enforcement agencies. Over hundreds of years, Mexico’s relationship to cannabis has grown out of colonial influences, indigenous adoption, and heavy international pressures.
Cannabis, CBD, and Mexico
In the sixteenth century, cannabis was first introduced to Mexico through the Spanish. At the time, it wasn’t used as an illicit psychoactive, but was instead valued for its fibrous, nutritious, and strong qualities.
Almost all cannabis production shifted to hemp, which was grown specifically to create wartime composites, ship building materials, thick ropes, and other breathable fabrics.
After Mexico reclaimed independence in the early nineteenth century, hemp farming decreased rapidly every year. Hemp production was primarily supported through Spanish subsidies, which dried up as soon as colonial forces withdrew from the country.
During this time period, many Mexicans and indigenous groups began to use cannabis for its psychoactive properties. Career psychics and religious groups integrated cannabis into their rituals, which resulted in a booming divination industry in many areas.
Aside from recreation and ritual, cannabis was also recognized for its medicinal properties. Lower class individuals would smoke cannabis in order to treat common ailments, especially since other medications were too expensive.
Soon enough, the central government recognized marijuana use as a growing societal and economic problem. In 1882, cannabis was formally banned for all purposes. Rumors that cannabis caused suicide, violence, and family problems spread from the United States border down to Mexico City.
However, law enforcement was somewhat lax. Many rural communities continued to openly grow and consume marijuana in public spaces, such as cafes, restaurants, and town squares.
Growing International Pressure In The Twentieth Century
In the late seventies, the United States funded a program that would destroy cannabis crops all throughout Mexico, in cooperation with the Mexican government. Helicopters and other technology were introduced to the region to help aid any eradication measures. Ultimately, this program fell into disfavor as it wrought environmental destruction on many sensitive ecosystems.
As international pressure has started to abate in recent years, the room for decriminalization and legalization has again opened up.
In 2009, Mexico decriminalized possession of small amounts of cannabis in order to reduce pressure on the overburdened legal system.
Over the next few years, Mexican officials have grown increasingly supportive of measures to legalize recreational and medical marijuana. Now, it’s legal for individuals sponsored by a medical care program to grow one to four plants for personal use.
In 2018, the Supreme Court ruled that prohibiting cannabis use was unconstitutional, since limited the ability of adults to develop their own personality.
The government is currently caught in a gridlock since state-sponsored, legal marijuana has not been introduced to the public yet. It’s not yet possible for adults to purchase marijuana in dispensaries, so residents still rely on criminal distributors for access.