Those who used to go to the Mexican Senate in search of their marijuana to throw a pipe can now go looking for another market. The camp that was set up three years ago on one side of the Upper House has been dismantled at dawn this Saturday by the local police, surrounded by a triple row of metal fences and guarded by more than a dozen agents. The bronze of Luis Pasteur that presides over the square today only breathes the pollution typical of Mexico City. The French scientist will be more bored from now on, because the space, in the center of the capital, became for months a concentration of young marijuana users who diversified their activities: there they planted and sold various species of herb and the junk to smoke it, hashish cookies, tacos and soft drinks. There was no Senate in the world like the one in Mexico.
The sit-in was set up as a protest against the laws that restricted the consumption of buds and the presence of those dilapidated cabins where cannabis was grown put pressure on legislators. Marijuana defenders were winning legal battles, but the House did not give in, despite the fact that several articles had been described as unconstitutional and senators were urged to modify the law. But they consumed the deadlines given without addressing the claims of the courts. Fed up with disobedience, the Supreme Court slammed its fist on the table in June 2021 and declared the entire law unconstitutional. “It is a historic day for freedoms,” said the president at the time, Arturo Zaldivar. But the rights remain in a regulatory limbo. The head of the ruling party in the Upper House, Ricardo Monreal, knows this, and on some occasion he has already expressed the need to regulate this consumption as he is mandated.
As the months went by without significant alterations, the landscape of smoke became common in the Senate and the passers-by didn’t even realize that it was there, the protest of any youthful Saturday was indistinguishable. That was one of the reasons the leaders decided to lift the camp, it was no longer useful for claims, they said recently. But not everyone was satisfied, and days later, the smokers were still there: “Hasta la victoria verde”, said the slogans. The dispute was not only within the collective. In the heat of the drug, the Administration complained of recurring fights in the Luis Pasteur park, although, in general, they are peaceful people who in no way altered the daily life of the neighborhood.
Mexico has a pending issue that in many countries of the world has already gained a lot of ground, with regulated markets and free planting and distribution or controlled by the State. In New York, without going any further, every corner smells of marijuana. Also in Mexico, freedoms are being scratched in this regard. In Oaxaca, for example, the police received instructions in the spring of last year not to bother smokers if they were not bothering anyone. They were asked to limit consumption to areas that were not children’s passageways, hospitals, public places, etc., but the agents could no longer arrest consumers for public scandal. They didn’t need a law for it, but achieved their little triumph by the absence of a law that said otherwise. In those days, marijuana advocates tried to campaign among police officers to make them aware of the latest regulations. They knew they had won another battle, but the war, like all wars, will still be long and uncertain.
The resonance of the capital will have its waves throughout the State, for sure. The entire country knows today that smoking is no longer in the Mexican Senate, but they expect the senators to do their job and give the green light to a claim of the same color.