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Regina Hernández, a member of the collective Oaxaca Highlands/Association of Indigenous Cannabis Growers. Photo: Noticias Telemundo

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

Go deeper

Heisman trophy winner Ricky Williams' very best Austin day

Former player Ricky Williams of the Texas Longhorns stands on the sideline of a football game in 2016, flashing a Hook 'Em sign. Photo: Brian Bahr/Getty Images

We recently caught up with Ricky Williams, the famed former University of Texas football player and Heisman trophy winner, who now lives full-time in California, but travels to Austin regularly to visit his kids.

  • Williams recently launched a cannabis lifestyle branding company called Highsman, and he's a professional astrologer.

45 million Americans under winter storm watches near New England

Computer model projection showing the winds moving around the powerful East Coast storm on Saturday Jan. 29, 2022. Image: https://earth.nullschool.net

Nearly 45 million Americans are under winter weather alerts and warnings from North Carolina to northeastern Maine Thursday night, as a major winter storm threatens the region.

Why it matters: It is predicted to be the biggest blizzard since 2018 to strike the Northeast with more than 2 feet of snow possible in parts of eastern Massachusetts, according to the National Weather Service.

Judge nixes Gulf of Mexico oil leases in climate-focused ruling

Tug boats prepare to tow the semi-submersible drilling platform Noble Danny Adkins through the Port Aransas Channel into the Gulf of Mexico on December 12, 2020 in Port Aransas, Texas. Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

A federal judge on Thursday canceled the Biden administration's late 2021 sale of new oil-and-gas drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico.

Why it matters: The ruling that the greenhouse gas emissions analysis by the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) was insufficient is a win for green groups that challenged the decision, as they seek to curb fossil fuel production.