Carrying marijuana plants and smoking joints, farmers and pro-legalization activists gathered at the office of the state Health Ministry in Cuernavaca, Morelos, Monday to request a license for the cultivation of marijuana. Their ultimate goal: make Tetecala, located in the western part of the state, the first “marijuana town” in the country.
Farmers in the municipality have traditionally produced sugar cane but they believe marijuana could be more profitable for use in medicine, for recreational use, for fabrics and clothing and to attract tourism.
A Tetecala-based association of farmers and communal landowners delivered a letter to Health Minister Marco Antonio Cantú Cuevas and the head of the State Commission for Health Risks (Coprisem) to request a license for cultivation, but soon learned they were knocking on the wrong doors.
State authorities said granting the licenses comes under the remit of federal authorities.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the association, Alejandro Vello Arellano, explained the benefits of Tetecala being a marijuana town. “We submitted the license application to plant marijuana legally. What we are looking for is to change the direction of our town, to attract trade … but also to attract tourism … [and] benefit more than 20,000 inhabitants,” the sugar cane producer said.
“We are looking for the planting license because it is what we know how to do … there shouldn’t be any middle men. The trade should be directly with the people who process it, sell it, and even export it,” he said.
“Marijuana is being legalized in many parts of the world, and in localities in the United States, which is the main producer … We either adapt to international rules or we fall behind,” he added.
The Supreme Court struck down laws criminalizing the recreational use of marijuana on June 28. It had previously declared the prohibition of cannabis unconstitutional in 2018. The use of medicinal marijuana has been legal since 2017.
The June decision stated that to legally obtain marijuana, citizens had to apply for a permit from the Federal Commission for Health Risks (Cofepris), allowing them to hold 28 grams. It also stated that Cofepris permits were required for the cultivation and harvesting of plants.