Indigenous communities in Mexico replace corn crops with cannabis
Indigenous communities in Oaxaca, Mexico, are replacing corn crops with cannabis in anticipation of marijuana being legalized in the country.
What’s happening: Ten communities in the sierra formed the collective Oaxaca Highlands and are in the process of obtaining growing permits.
- They plan to use the plant to sell products containing CBD, dishes flavored with cannabis seed, and clothes and beer made with hemp.
- A Mexican Supreme Court decision last year eased the rules for receiving licenses to grow medicinal cannabis, which is legal.
- A national bill that would decriminalize cannabis for recreational purposes has been approved by the lower house and a Senate vote is anticipated for the legislative period that starts in February.
The big picture: The Oaxacan growers say there is Indigenous vindication in growing the cannabis themselves and profiting directly.
- The Oaxaca and Guerrero highlands have for many years been exploited by drug-trafficking organizations that force local residents to tend drug crops for them and to pick opium poppy for heroin sold in the U.S.
- That created a stigma against Indigenous peoples who grew marijuana, despite records of native groups having done so for traditional and medicinal purposes since the 16th century.
- The collective hopes the permits will help to generate legal job opportunities so fewer Oaxacans will need to migrate north.
Go deeper: Mexico moves closer to legalizing marijuana