Marijuana And The Law: Where The World Is Heading

A group of left-wing Mexican lawmakers from the Party of the Democratic Revolution (hereinafter “PRD”) introduced a bill recently to legalize marijuana in an effort to curb the well known and documented cartel violence that exists in the country. Since Mexican President Felipe Calderon launched a crackdown on drug cartels in 2008, Mexico has faced a wave of violence that has resulted in an estimated 70,000 deaths and 26,000 disappearances. PRD members plan on introducing a similar bill in the Mexican House soon. However, it is unclear whether the bill will ultimately be approved given that PRD is only the third largest party in Mexico’s congress.

Marijuana legalization has been controversial in the United States and abroad. Indeed, many commentators predict that 2014 will be a groundbreaking year for marijuana policy. Recently, the United States Financial Crimes Enforcement Network issued guidelines for banks to provide services to legal marijuana related businesses. Moreover, just last week Italy’s constitutional court struck down a harsh marijuana sentencing law. Furthermore, Michigan’s Supreme Court ruled that cities may not pass ordinances that conflict with the state’s medical marijuana laws. Just this past year, Florida’s Supreme Court approved a citizen initiative to vote on the legality of medical marijuana. Additionally, Uruguay President Jose Mujica signed a bill making the country the first to legalize the sale and production of marijuana.

In sum, no matter what one’s views on the legalization of Marijuana, it is now safe to say that the marijuana legalization is an impending juggernaut to existing laws and those that oppose it. Medical marijuana, while in it of itself, still does not give an imprimatur to use the drug recreationally, it is, in any event, a step in that direction. For it was not too long ago where marijuana – with respect to medical use – was still a banned substance throughout the entire country.

The “marijuana movement,” if you will, raises some interesting questions. Do you think it is only a matter of time before most of the States join the movement and allow the legal use of marijuana for medical purposes? Is this a decision better left to the States or the Federal government; is this a decision that the federal government can even have a say on based on principles of federalism?

What about the recreational use of marijuana? Is it only a matter a time until the States and the rest of the world  follow in Colorado’s footsteps with respect to the legalization of recreational use, or is this just some folly by the people of Colorado?

Source: Mexico’s Law Library of Congress

Photo: Business Insider


  1. In terms of the situation going on in Mexico, I don’t think that the legalization of marijuana would do much to combat cartel violence. If marijuana was legal, I still think that violence would go on between such “legal” businesses when it comes to maintaining power over territory. Additionally, much of the drug trafficking business is just that, trafficking; meaning to say that the legal or illegal substances are making their way out of the country, not staying inside. It is certainly possible that within the country, less demand would make the Mexican cartels lose power, but this is mere speculation. In terms of what is going on in the United States, it is very difficult to predict how the federal government will respond to its conflict of laws with some state laws. I think that there is certainly growing pressure and more positive acceptance of marijuana tolerance, and that can definitely lead to a different view from the eyes of the federal judiciary. The question will certainly be one that is decided sooner or later.

  2. I think it is only a matter of time until more states pass laws to allow the legalization of Marijuana. Once people see how Colorado and Washington deal with the passage of their own marijuana laws, it will help make them determine if they want Marijuana legal in their own state. It has already proven to be a success in Colorado, already adding millions of dollars to their economy in the short term. If this success continues, there is no doubt that more states will jump on the bandwagon to reap the benefits of legalized marijuana. Further, I definitely think some states will legalize it for medical purposes before recreational purposes. This will ease the process of eventually making it legal for recreational use as well. I do not think that it is a folly by Colorado. More states will certainly join the movement once it becomes more widely accepted.

  3. Marijuana has brought large revenues already to several states who have legalized the use of medical marijuana. As soon as other states will realize how big the revenue this business will bring to the state and to the local government, they will also pass the legalization of medical marijuana one by one. However, in order not to divert and abuse the use of MMJ, they should also provide some regulations and qualifications to those who are supposed to buy the medical marijuana from the licensed cannabis dispensaries.

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