Mexico’s Evolving Stance On Marijuana: A look at America’s Reverse-Cannabis Pipeline

On December 13th, Mexico’s senate voted to legalize medicinal marijuana, a huge step in decriminalizing cannabis for our southern neighbors – and it all started because of Alina Maldonado Montes de Oca. Alina began having seizures as an infant, sometimes reaching 25 to 40 a day. She was diagnosed with an oxygen deficiency to certain parts of her body called hypoxia, which affected her brain development, causing both epilepsy and infantile cerebral palsy. She was treated with 14 different kinds of medications that caused her further pain until her father discovered another option. He came across a case like his daughter’s in the U.S. that was treated with Cannabidiol (CBD), and began his journey to helping his daughter get well.

On February 1st, 2016 the Maldonado family and another family with a similar case were granted permits for their girls to receive CBD Treatment from abroad. In the face of terrible cartel violence, Mexico saw potential for CBD, creating a reverse cannabis pipeline. HempMeds, a California-based company, solidified a partnership with Mexico when the Mexican Health Department began allowing hemp-based CBD oil across the border. HempMeds is a subsidiary of Medical Marijuana Inc., and now sells the only legal cannabis-based products allowed into Mexico.

All imports are strictly regulated and are free of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), but Mexico isn’t the only Latin American country beginning to accept and welcome the benefits of cannabis. In 2014 Brazil began a similar partnership with HempMeds for treatment of chronic pain, epilepsy, and Parkinson’s disease. Paraguay, Argentina, and Chile also partner with HempMeds in its exports of Real Scientific Hemp Oil, and most importantly the THC-free alternative, Real Scientific Hemp Oil-X.

With growing acceptance of CBD as a legitimate medical treatment for a growing number of illnesses, HempMeds now treats upwards of 1,500 families with epileptic children in Brazil alone. With December’s vote to legalize medical marijuana, as well as Mexico’s president Enrique Peña Nieto now working towards decriminalizing marijuana for recreational purposes, it would seem as though more of the world is opening their eyes to the positive benefits of marijuana both recreationally and medically.

Lisa Sanchez, director of drug policy for Mexico Unido Contra la Delincuencia, a group that works to control crime, has spent years fighting for the acknowledgement of the medical and therapeutic uses of cannabis. She agreed that it was a move in the right direction, but stated that December’s decision was “not the end of the road.”

Luna Reyna

Luna Reyna believes in the power of journalistic activism and social responsibility. As a writer with DOPE, she tackles many social justice topics that often do not receive the coverage they deserve within the cannabis industry, as well as issues of inclusivity regarding race, gender, class and sexual orientation. Luna is also the Managing Editor for BARE Magazine, a quarterly lifestyle magazine whose motto is, "culture without censorship." She is also the founder of RIZE Entertainment, an art, entertainment and culture company that focuses solely on artists who challenge injustice and champion equality through their art.

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