A Mexican senator announced on Wednesday that she will be introducing a bill to legalize and regulate psychedelics nationwide to give people an alternative treatment option for serious mental health conditions.
At an Intercultural Forum on Entheogenic Medicine that took place in the Senate, Sen. Alejandra Lagunes of the Ecologist Green Party said that substances like psilocybin and ayahuasca have “high therapeutic potential, low toxicity and don’t create physical dependence or abuse.”
U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) also made remarks in a video recording that was played at the forum, applauding lawmakers in the neighboring country for taking initial steps to further dismantle prohibition and unlock the potential of psychedelics.
The congressman, who has promoted psychedelics reform domestically while continuing to champion marijuana legalization, said that Mexico is moving in the “right direction,” and he looks “forward to being your American partner” in the push for reform. Blumenauer was separately part of a congressional delegation to Colombia last year where he discussed to need to move on from the drug war.
Lagunes hasn’t formally filed the psychedelics bill yet, so it’s unclear what a therapeutic program might look like or what substances will be involved. But it could take notes from Blumenauer’s home state, where voters approved a ballot initiative in 2020 to legalize supervised psilocybin services centers.
“Mexico has in its native peoples an infinite wisdom and knowledge of psilocybin mushrooms and what they can do for the mental health of the population,” the senator said, according to a translation. “We are doing something that does not exist anywhere else in the world, because we want to consider ancestral knowledge, the original peoples—but we also want to take into account what is happening in the world and not be left behind.”
She added that the forthcoming legislation must be informed by “knowing how we integrate ancestral knowledge with the reality of biomedicine, what are the public policies that best respond to the needs of the majority, how to avoid extractivism and guarantee access, among others.”
It’s unclear whether there’s strong enough appetite for psychedelics reform to advance the pending bill. Mexican lawmakers have struggled to enact legislation to legalize recreational marijuana, despite a Supreme Court mandate to end prohibition.
Late last year, the presidents of Colombia and Mexico announced that they would be bringing together other Latin American leaders for an international conference focused on on “redesigning and rethinking drug policy” given the “failure” of prohibition.
A top Mexican Senate official recently said that she’s heard from a colleague who visited leaders in several Latin American countries, and they’re consistently asking about the status of Mexico’s efforts to legislatively end prohibition and set up a regulated marijuana market.
It’s been more than four years since the nation’s highest court deemed prohibition unconstitutional, leaving it up to Congress to follow up with a policy change, accordingly. But lawmakers have so far been unable to reach a consensus on legislation to put in place regulations for a cannabis program even as various bills have moved forward in the legislative process.
At the request of lawmakers, the court agreed to extend its deadline for Congress to formally end prohibition on multiple occasions. But because of the repeated failed attempts to meet those deadlines, justices ultimately voted to end criminalization on their own in 2021.
Mexico’s president said in late 2020 that a vote on legalization legislation was delayed due to minor “mistakes” in the proposal.
A top Mexican senator separately said in 2021 that “there is no longer room for the prohibitionist policy. ” And she also said that the influence of the U.S .is to blame for failed marijuana criminalization laws in her country. (Full Story)