Mexico’s Farmers Waiting for Full Legalization of Cannabis in Cabo

High in the hills of Oaxaca State, Southern Mexico, lies the community of San Pablo Juila. The residents once believed a revolution was on the horizon. In 2017, Mexico legalized cannabis for medicinal use.

For years, the local farmers, like Oligario, cultivated it, albeit covertly. He recalls the secretive nature of their operations, mainly due to the fear of soldiers who would destroy the illegal crops. The community had hoped the legalization would lead to a safer cultivation environment.

They even began refining their crops to adhere to legal medical cannabis standards. However, a significant hurdle emerged. The current government administration is not issuing licenses, even though the community has complied with all the required permissions and forms. Currently, they grow cannabis under personal consumption permits. Oaxaca, a primarily indigenous and economically challenged state, has the highest number of commercial permit applications in the country.

Daniel Ramirez, an agro-engineering grower who has been lobbying for the licenses, believes the government’s reluctance stems from the longstanding stigma associated with cannabis. The Mexican Government declined to comment on the legalization of cannabis in Mexico.

The aspirations of villages like Juila in Oaxaca remain high. They have ambitious plans to commercialize their cannabis production, envisioning vast greenhouses and a potential boost to their local economy. Their hope is to provide jobs locally so that villagers don’t have to migrate to the United States for work. This endeavor holds promise not only for the local economy but also for potential medical benefits to Mexican patients.

For generations, the people of Juila have utilized cannabis for medicinal purposes. Their future in the commercial sector, however, remains uncertain.

The report is brought to you by John Holman from Al Jazeera


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