Following the financial crisis from the covid-19 pandemic, activists have suggested that the eventual legalization of marijuana would be an economic driver.
After the economic crisis that Mexico and the world are going through due to the coronavirus pandemic, activists in favor of the legalization of marijuana say that the cannabis industry could be an engine of development; however economists assure that the impact would be limited and regional.
Although in March the Chamber of Senators discussed the approval of an opinion that seeks to create a marijuana regulation law in Mexico , which would allow people to possess up to 28 grams of this drug, avoid criminalizing their crops and use it for medical purposes. , the health emergency halted legislative activities .
Given this panorama, the president of Barba Rossa´s, Emilio Rascón, assured that the eventual regulation of cannabis could strengthen the country’s economy after the pandemic , since said industry could create productive chains and indirect jobs.
“There are going to be people who sell compost, people who are in charge of greenhouses, of transporting; not only plant marijuana, legal, financial, consulting services will be opened, it is an entire industry . ”
In an interview for Forbes Mexico, he underlined that the tax collection for this drug could be invested in education, health and development, as it happens in other cities of the world.
According to local United States media, the state of California collected more than $ 1 billion in taxes for the production and sale of cannabis , since the drug was legalized since January 2018.
Against him, the expert in macro and microeconomics, Darío Ibarra Zavala, indicated that the impact of the cannabis industry on public finances would be minuscule , since the benefits would be for a small and limited sector.
He recalled that during the 90’s the legalization of casinos in the country was discussed because it was expected that they would become an engine of economic growth, which did not happen.
He explained to this news portal that there could be a temporary benefit for the farmers who plant this product, however it would cease to be a business if the number of people who grow the plant increases , especially if it is considered that people can produce at home. the product.
“If it is a market where anyone can plant, even in their home pots, what is going to happen with the price is that it is going to become cheaper, given the lower cost of the product, you could hardly say that the impact could be permanently .”
He compared with the tobacco and coffee industries, which generate employment and development in the population that engages in these activities, although he ruled out that these have become an economic engine for the entire country .
“Perhaps for microregions but not at the national level, there could be a temporary impact, focused on the people who produce it, but the reduction in cost would be that it would no longer be profitable .”
Mexico, marijuana exporter?
The leader of Barba Rossa’s pointed out that Mexico has a privileged latitude for the amount of sun it receives, so that there are ideal conditions for the production of the plant , which would make this country an exporter due to the low cost of production.
“In Oregon it costs to produce between five and seven dollars a gram, here it costs 10 cents. Mexico could be a great producer of cannabis , all the people and businessmen of the United States, Canadians, Israelites, Colombians and Jamaicans have their eyes on Mexico ”.
He stressed that in the long term such an industry could be included in international trade agreements, such as the T-MEC, since several foreign companies would be interested in producing the plant in the country due to favorable environmental conditions.
In this regard, Ibarra Zavala agreed that this nation could become an exporter of marijuana due to its geographical location and the facilities in its production , so it would be necessary to take advantage of and control that potential in case the plant is legalized.
“The best thing is to recognize the fact and regulate it. If there are countries that want to consume the product and it is legal, I see no reason why it cannot be included in trade agreements ”.
The university professor added that there are countries in Latin America where drug trafficking generates a large amount of foreign exchange , so the ideal would be to recognize the situation and promote control over it.
Impact on public health and safety
The spokesperson for the cannabis organization said that its main objectives are to remove the negative stigma that marijuana users have, for which they launched a campaign with opinion leaders who use the product and are part of the cultural, artistic, and business.
After the pandemic, he explained that they suspended the media campaign since the health emergency put the entire country on alert.
However, he added that his intention is not to promote consumption but to change the negative image of consumers, as well as the eventual legalization in the recreational, medicinal, and industrial use of the plant.
He accepted that both marijuana and alcohol and tobacco represent harm to people’s bodies, although he reproached the police persecution of the herb’s carriers in lesser amounts, since bringing 15 grams of the plant could mean up to 20 years in prison.
Meanwhile, Ibarra Zavala evoked that the taboo on the use and legalization of marijuana in the United States has dissipated in recent years so that in Mexico a discussion should be opened with solid elements on the implications that it would have on security and public health decriminalize it.
He explained that some economic estimates warn that a public sector monopoly in this sense would not be adequate since there would be inefficiencies in the market and production chains would be poorly designed, however, the government would function as a regulatory entity.
“I believe that the public sector intervenes not as a monopoly, but as a regulatory entity and that it has a strong presence in the Ministry of Economy and Health, in particular, the Official Mexican Standards so that the product has a minimum quality and has less impact In the health”.