How weed activists operate in the Mexican legalization movement


Most of the people who travel to Mexico City have a long list of things to do and see. Most likely, the Senate building next to the winding Avenida Insurgentes isn’t on that list. Unless you’re a politician or a stoner.

You read that right. These days, if you want to buy or smoke cannabis in the city without being harassed or arrested, all you have to do is go to the government building.

In front of one of the most famous legal offices in the country, there are approximately 1,000 cannabis plants (and a sizeable group of their consumers) on a large lot in front of one of the main entrances to the Senate. The takeover is a call to legalize the plant, its cultivation and consumption.

What is Plantón 420?

A sign that reads A banner for the Mexican cannabis movementA set of shoes and boots that cannabis plants grow out ofA set of boots and shoes that cannabis plants grow out of

Welcome to el Plantón 420, a protest camp where smoking a big, fat camp in front of the cops and government employees is a way to exercise the right to development protected by the national constitution.

“Our goal is to ensure that every adult citizen has legal, safe and free access to cannabis – for personal, therapeutic or industrial use,” says Juan Pablo Ibarra Chapoy, a member of the Plantón 420 committee is behind this takeover.

He is part of a group of citizens who have sued the country of Mexico on behalf of cannabis. Your complaint? The absolute ban on marijuana is not proportional to the risks inherent in its use and therefore violates the right to development.

The Supreme Court recognized this right and asked Congress to lift the ban. We are currently waiting for the Senate to ratify a bill and then it goes to the President, ”Ibarra continues. “It will regulate recreational access to cannabis and allow individual / collective cultivation and sale in a regulated market.”


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The law was passed in the House of Commons from 316 to 129 in March 2021 and would also allow cannabis use in private and public places. Hence, the scenario that takes place in and around the makeshift camp before President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (also known as AMLO) puts a signature on it.

Life in the camp

A large cannabis plant in a black pot in the Planton 420 warehousePlants grow in the warehouseA photo of the consumption rules in Planton 420Rules for using cannabis in the safe roomCannabis plants grow near the Mexico City Senate buildingMany pot cannabis plants live in PlanTÓN420Items for sale at Planton 420 campsite, including books, hats and pipesSpecial items in PlanTÓN420 such as pieces, books and weed clothing.

On a tour of the peaceful occupation, you could see various tents dedicated to keeping operations going. There was a small nursery for new plants, a teepee that served as an improvised studio that recorded a live podcast, and a very cool makeshift shelter where a group of people napped on a mix of inflatable mattresses and hat bags made.

The campers ranged from a rogue group of skilled gardeners, stylish artists, a nurse who knew about the medicinal properties of cannabis, and other amigos of the plant. Everyone there rejected the law in its current iteration.

In the eyes of members of the movement, the government could do better with its current iteration of federal law regulating cannabis, including:

Too low cultivation limits resulting in unlawful arrests and requiring licenses to consume the movement and transportation of cannabis flowers from cooperative fines for people who smoke in restricted, non-police areas – a framework that does not see cannabis users as serious and autonomous individuals

To put it another way, supporters are concerned about creating a new blueprint guaranteeing human rights in a nation where they are being violated on a daily basis.

The struggle to legalize cannabis in Mexico

Although Mexico appears to be part of a recent wave of legalization, the process has been going on since 2012 when lawyer Andrés Aguinaco led the reform and represented Grace Elizalde.

“This will empower the locals, have a social impact, protect human rights and help build peace in the country.”

Zara Snapp

At the time, Grace was an 8-year-old who had about 400 seizures a day due to Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. She sought access to cannabis oil to treat and control her condition.

“We are on the verge of making legalization a reality,” said Zara Snapp, an advocate for drug reform. “It’s not perfect, however. We need effective decriminalization and a range of measurable positive actions that ensure community protection and first-hand access to licenses, ”she continues.

Although cannabis was previously widely used by the Mexican population, it has been considered illegal since 1920.

Mexico’s complex relationship with cannabis

Large group of people forming Mexico map and national flag

You might think that Mexican civil society would like to move into a new paradigm suggesting alternatives to a bloody drug war, but the reality is different.

In a recent poll, 58% of Mexicans showed they are against legalizing the facility.

“Unfortunately, Mexico currently doesn’t have an outstanding cannabis culture,” says Hugo Rodríguez Sánchez, lawyer and managing director at Estudio Cannábico Mx – an organization that provides legal advice, historical and medical information, and cultivation instructions.


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“The spirit of prohibition still lingers in the country and many people who have to do with the Narcos. There is very little interest in getting to know this beautiful plant. “

Regardless of how cannabis is viewed internally, the word of this new green onslaught has spread, attracting the interest of Canadian and American companies poised to enter the world’s largest legal market – and a solidification for the new Latin American boom.

The move will shake the foundations of Washington DC and put pressure on the Biden Harris administration to carry out federal legalization. But we won’t know exactly until April 30th: the day the final vote in the Senate confirms what so many are already speculating about.

Not everyone in the country will be happy, but cannabis will no longer be banned in Mexico – which could easily become the largest legal market in the world.

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Beth Edmonds