Hey, this is Jaimie from the
VICE office in Brooklyn.
Our colleagues over at VICE Mexico
explored marijuana regulation
by visiting the local farmer
in Guerrero state
and even interviewed the former
President, Vicente Fox.
Who’s notoriously voiced
in the pro-pot movement.
This is Marijuana Mexicana
from our series Miscelánea.
We’re entering the Fox Center
in San Cristobal, Guanajuato.
That’s a portrait of Fox and Marta.
Inside the Fox Center
there are offices, a library.
This is the presidential office.
We have Peña Nieto over there.
My fellow Mexicans, the time
to legalize marijuana is upon us.
We’re on a road, driving on the
northern mountain ranges of Guerrero.
The fog is really bad and
we can barely see anything.
We have to drive very carefully since
the curves are pretty steep.
We went to the mountains of Guerrero
to see a traditional marijuana field,
and the men who work on them.
Throughout the marijuana production
chain, farmers are usually the ones
to get less benefits out of it.
Guerrero’s Mountain Range
These towns are pretty unreachable,
since they are in the middle of the mountains.
It’s unlikely for anyone to get here.
We are going to keep walking for
We’re going to keep walking
for another half an hour
to get to the fields, but we
can already see it from here.
You can see a whole different pattern.
The land is full of crops.
We’ve finally arrived.
Look at the height of this
one, for instance.
I’ve never seen this
many plants before.
How big is this plantation?
It’s around a hectare and a half.
How much marijuana can you get
from a plantation like this?
It’s not just one harvest. We
have about three or four.
You can harvest about
200 to 300 kilos.
We plant these around June and we
harvest them around October.
About how much do
you sell it for?
The price varies. It goes
around 300-350 per kilo.
-350 pesos per kilo?
– Yes, pesos.
Plantations like this are where the
black market sources its marijuana.
A plant of many benefits, which no
one has been able to properly study
due to the prohibitionist policies.
The farmers who grow it make the
least money on this production chain.
Every time it exchanges
hands or borders,
the price of the product
increases for the trader.
Leaving a trail of violence
and corruption on its way.
These policies of
are changing throughout Europe,
and North and South America.
Four US states have recently voted to
allow the recreational use of marijuana.
Which adds to the eight states where
marijuana is completely legal.
And in 28 states medical use
of marijuana is legal.
Canada however, wants to federally legalize
the recreational use of marijuana by 2017.
In Mexico, the debate
is barely starting.
In 2015, we learned Grace’s story.
A girl with Lennox Gastaut syndrome
A condition that causes her to
have up to 400 convulsions a day.
When she started using cannabidiol,
a cannabis with active cannabinoids
her condition stabilizes.
This family was the
first in Mexico
to receive a permit to
legally use marijuana.
Her parents organized a movement
of hundreds of people
who are in need of
different types of cannabis.
We decided to meet another family,
Iñaki and his parents
Egalem and Roberto.
Iñaki suffers from refractory epilepsy
and his parents have tried to treat him
with cannabidiol products.
From the start, his
birth was difficult.
I had gestational diabetes.
Then I started to realize that
my son was epileptic.
Since you’ve received
this tough diagnosis,
I can imagine that you look
for different kinds of treatments.
We started to do research on
stem cells, then we kept researching
and found out about
the cannabis oil option.
Or how we commonly call it,
What kind of effects
does it have on Iñaki?
How does it help him?
What have you noticed?
When he was on medicine, he
just stood there all the time.
And now with this cannabis treatment, he’s
more open, more engaging and aware.
I notice that he wakes up
smiling every day.
He’s aware of his surroundings
and he looks everywhere.
He plays with his sister.
Because of the current
conditions and costs,
we’re forced to acquire this
cannabis through an illegal method.
Those are the oils.
Yes, this one,
we give it to him so that he
can sleep. It’s a different strain.
And this one is a
different cannabis oil.
The permits for different derivatives of
cannabis use are regulated by the
the authorities of the
Mexican Health Authority.
Egalem and Roberto are appealing
the court for a self-cultivating permit
which would significantly lower the
costs and provide an effective treatment
We’re going to meet a couple that have
been producing different extracts
of marijuana for many years.
We’re going to take a course
with them on different
This course is offered to
people who are interested
in using marijuana for
I was diagnosed with cancer this year.
I have non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
I’m not sure why, but during my second
chemotherapy session they kept changing
my prescriptions, they kept giving me
more and more medicines.
And, I was they type to
never use aspirin.
So it really affected me when they
kept increasing my dosages.
Then, all of the sudden I realized. I don’t
know why I didn’t think about it before.
I had been vomiting for like a day and
a half. I couldn’t eat anything.
I took a few puffs and not even five
minutes later I was like a different person.
After watching a long session of
powerpoint in this empty house,
they taught us how to make an extract
with alcohol to end up with a
a spreadable and eatable oil.
The idea of this class is for you
to understand how to extract
in your homes using
simple kitchen utensils.
You might also need a scale
and some other things, but everything
is pretty accessible to everyone.
What we want to do first is
the decarboxylation process.
Which is heating up the marijuana to
the exact temperature to be able
to extract all the
cannabinoids inside of it,
and take advantage of all of them.
Tricomas are the tiny capillaries
around the plant.
The goal is to extract as many
cannabinoids and other active
substances in the plant.
Marijuana gets macerated with alcohol
then cooked over a double boiler
which results in a sticky paste.
This extract is later mixed with oil
The cannabis culture in Mexico has
been growing, and this is a clear
example of people looking to treat
an illness with medical cannabis.
Of course, yeah!
We went to talk with Lisa Sanchez.
She’s been an important advocate
in the fight to legalize
cannabis in Mexico.
From your perspective, what were
the most important steps
we’ve taken these past
couple of years?
We’ve seen, for example, that after
the narco retail law passed,
during the Calderon administration,
which promoted it as
a law that would actually
decriminalize the use of marijuana.
But from an organized civil
society’s point of view,
the fact that, Mexico United Against Crime
was able to add this issue onto the docket
which then allowed them to create
a working agenda around it
using litigation and
which came to fruition three years
later with the Supreme Court verdict
on November 4th, 2015
where four citizens were allowed
to cultivate and consume cannabis,
but not sell it or
damaging a third party.
So I do believe that there is traction
and it is being debated publicly.
We have definitely seen
progress on this issue.
People aren’t irresponsibly talking
about legalization anymore like
they did about 5 years ago.
Today we’re talking about
legally regulating it.
I would tell you that
I am very hopeful.
We saw our President speak about
this issue at the United Nations.
We need to approach the
international drug problem
from a Human Rights perspective.
It’s the only way
we’ll be able to deliver more integral,
balanced and sustainable answers.
After Enrique Peña Nieto presented
this position at the United Nations,
many proposals were introduced
to be discussed in the Parliament.
However, none of them
have been approved.
We went to the Senate when it seemed
that one of the many bills was about to pass.
And also to see how much consideration
our representatives were giving to this.
We’re in the Senate’s chamber.
They still haven’t
started the session
where they’re going to discuss
laws relating to marijuana use.
Yesterday, an important subject was
left pending, regarding an increase in
the amount of personal
possession of marijuana.
Something that’s important to note is
that in the past two days, this sessions
have finished late, but
have also started late.
They started discussing this subject around
midnight and they finished around 3 am.
They were supposed to start at 6 pm
today and it’s just not happening.
The regulations that are being
presented are still very restrictive.
Everything needs to be authorized by
the Health Department first.
I feel we are very far from what was
being presented as a minimum.
We are not even reaching a minimum.
Our strategy today is that if we
don’t reach an agreement
we need to find ways to improve
this and continue our fight
in the House of Representatives.
Vicente Fox is the first Mexican
president to be in favor of
promoting cannabis regulation.
Lately, ex-president Fox has been
very public with his view for
regularization of drugs. Not only marijuana
but other drugs too, like cocaine and heroin.
He’s been very active. He seems to appears
on any show that’d give him a space.
He’s on the internet. He gets into fights
with Donald Trump on Twitter.
We thought it’d be interesting to go
visit him and talk to him directly
and see what his ideas
are on this subject.
I’m excited to meet Vicente Fox. Even
more so here, in his ranch in Guanajuato.
A portrait of Fox and Martha.
Inside the Fox Center there are
offices, a library where we are right now.
There are replicas of spaces that were
significative to him during his administration.
This is the presidential office.
We have Peña Nieto over there.
My fellow Mexicans, the time to
legalize marijuana is upon us.
-Hi, how are you doing?
-Good afternoon, how are you?
-I’m well, thanks.
-My name is Guillermo Alvarez.
Nice to meet you.
We chose a space here in the
library to do the interview.
Good afternoon, everyone.
He’s always involved in what’s
happening around him.
-We need to buy more memory.
They’re talking about the computers. They
want new ones or need to get these fixed.
-I don’t need anything sophisticated.
Are you interested in the business
of marijuana and hemp?
There was a comment that I made and it’s making
the rounds, where I said that if it’s
legal and open, I would
get into the business of it.
It wasn’t a serious comment however,
I still don’t dismiss it.
That’s a scenario that we need to
understand which I vividly
and symbolically presented in
Seattle during a big press conference.
I was sitting next to a marijuana
farmer, an agriculture producer.
And on the other side, a owner
of one of these little dispensaries.
One of these stores that sold and
And I was telling the press, all the
international media was there.
How weird is it that I’m sitting next to
these two businessmen, a farmer and
a retailer, instead of sitting next to
Chapo Guzman and a crook dealer
from one of the cartels.
How do you see the recreational and
the medical use of marijuana?
I’ve never consumed it because of that.
I smoked cigarettes up until I was 30
then I quit because many
people die from it.
Millions and millions of people
die from smoking cigarettes
Nobody has died from
In order to die from a marijuana overdose,
you need to eat a truck full of weed
until you explode. That’s how you
die from marijuana consumption.
Medical use of cannabis is just one
part of the discussion.
But many consume it for
We are in Mexico City
and this is a march in favor of
the legalization of marijuana.
Hey, hold it like this for a second.
Cool, cool. Thanks.
We’re going to march and see
what kind of people show up
what kind of things they chant
and what they’re looking for.
People are starting to
arrive and gather around.
We see all kinds of
people reunited here.
People giving away
Smoke it, smoke it.
Don’t run out of breath.
I’m already high, stop it.
-10 pesos per flag.
-What does it say?
How long do you think it’ll take
for it to be legal, free of sin?
The hood has been free
of sin for a long time.
Where are you guys from?
From Iztapalapa. From
Iztapalapa to the world.
“Legal weed, elevates the spirit.”
“Legalization.” “Stoners united will
never be defeated.”
These are some of the phrases
that people are chanting.
As far as I can see, there are thousands
of people walking Juarez Avenue,
one of the most important avenues
in the historic district of Mexico City.
The environment is good,
people are calm.
They just ask for legalization.
-It will happen.
The policies that prohibit and
criminalize marijuana use have
held us back from taking advantage
of the benefits that this business offers.
I think Mexico is behind on this.
Other countries have already
processed this subject thoroughly.
When start to debate this subject it
improves many people’s perspectives.
And that’s why it’s
important to continue.
The free access to medicines, the right
to health care implies that every person
that needs it can get this substance,
the active ingredient,
or even the plant without having to go
through 32 different bureaucracies.
Marijuana has never really been accepted
or integrated into our daily lives as it is today.
And even when most of the world
still has a prohibitionist posture,
a change in legislation in Mexico
seems possible and necessary.
It seems like the right time
to promote these laws
whose goal is to protect citizens and
view it from a human rights perspective.
The challenge lies in seeing if we’re able
as a political class and as a society,
to move towards the legalization
and regulation of marijuana
so that we can truly take
advantage of our resources
to benefit the consumers, no matter
if the use is for medical purposes
or because you just like to smoke.
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