With Mexico Moving to Legalize Cannabis, the U.S. Is in Danger of Getting Left Behind

Our entire lives we have been taught about American exceptionalism. It is ingrained in us with our nation’s origin story about how the great George Washington, who allegedly wouldn’t lie about chopping down a cherry tree, led a ragtag group of freedom fighters to win independence from the mighty British Empire. Yes, we often ignore or downplay our faults and mistakes along the way, but Americans love to tout our great nation as the greatest of all-time, and the land of the free and the home of the brave does have some great accomplishments, such as winning independence from England and being the birthplace of Rock and Roll, for starters. We are supposed to be the leaders of the free world, so the United States getting left behind by our North American neighbors on cannabis legalization is just embarrassing, and as the Dude said, “This aggression will not stand, man.”

First, our neighbor to the north ended cannabis prohibition as Justin Trudeau and his Liberal Party was swept into power with legalization as a foundation of its political platform in 2018. After years of Vancouver, British Columbia, helping lead the way, drug policy reformers cheered on our Canadian counterparts, just knowing the their success would soon help our political battle here as well. While we are proud of the work of Canadian advocates, it soon became distressing to see big multinational corporations headquartered in Canada use their newfound freedom to buy up smaller American cannabis businesses who have been too stifled by Uncle Sam’s probationary policies to compete.

Now, as Politico reported our neighbor to the south, is on the verge of ending cannabis prohibition:

Mexico is on the verge of creating the world’s largest legal marijuana market, a move that could pressure President Joe Biden to embrace weed, too.

Mexico’s Chamber of Deputies passed landmark legislation Thursday morning, ahead of a April 30 deadline set by the country’s Supreme Court to legalize recreational sales. The Senate is expected to back the billin the coming days.

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President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, whose party strongly backs the proposal, is expected to sign the bill, sandwiching the U.S. between the world’s two biggest legal marijuana markets.

While I am gland the Mexico is moving towards legalization and am hopeful that their progress will help spur Congress to act quickly, I am fearful that this will open up yet another wave of corporate takeovers. The 280E IRS tax code and lack of banking and financial services are crippling American companies while corporations will now be able to utilize Mexico’s more favorable laws to purchase companies here in the U.S., just as companies have done in Canada. Now that American entrepreneurs will face major competitors from both sides of our border, on an uncompetitive playing field, it’s even more imperative that Congress pass legalization as soon as possible. We can start with the SAFE Banking Act and move forward from there, but time is of the essence.

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