Mexico could become the biggest medicinal marijuana producer in the world in five years if the government gives the green light for the cultivation of the plant, according to the president of an industry group.
Luis David Suárez Rodríguez, president of the Mexican Medicinal Marijuana Association, told the newspaper El Universal that there is no country that is better suited to the cultivation of cannabis than Mexico, adding that farmers already have ample experience growing the crop.
“Even though [they grow it] illegally, they know the plant, they’ve worked with it so legalizing its medicinal use would change the equation. It’s a social justice issue . . . our country . . . would change and those communities that were beaten down by the war against drug trafficking could be legal producers. It would be our green gold,” he said.
Suárez said that government approval and regulation of the use and cultivation of medicinal marijuana would allow Mexico to cash in on a lucrative global market, whose annual worth is currently estimated at around US $150 billion.
“I’m convinced that if we look at [cannabis cultivation] as development policy and we start to plant marijuana, we would be the biggest producer in the world in five years. The whole world would be buying cannabis and hemp from us. It could be a strategy to fill the nation’s coffers,” he said, adding that the government currently doesn’t collect any tax from marijuana.
This is the current marijuana strategy.
“. . . The Latin American region has been ravaged by the war on drugs but countries such as Uruguay, Colombia, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico have started to change that paradigm. Laws have been changed and now we want to be players at another level . . . We want to conduct clinical investigations and to produce and sell the products derived from the plant, and we want the communities that grow this marvelous medicine to benefit,” Suárez said.
The Supreme Court in August ordered the Health Secretariat to publish guidelines for medicinal marijuana use within 180 days while last February it published eight precedents on the recreational use of marijuana which determined that prohibition of the drug is unconstitutional.
Suárez said that last month’s ruling is “very important” because it’s essential to have guidelines that regulate the sale and use of medicinal marijuana.
He said that patients will have more certainty that the marijuana-based medications they purchase actually do contain cannabis and are free of contaminants such as pesticides.
“. . . Leaving the market unregulated, anything can come in [to the country], from a product that is marvelous to one that is poor quality and which only [seeks to] fool people . . .”