Mexico moves to create world’s largest legal cannabis market


Source: Al Jazeera

Mexico’s health ministry on Tuesday published rules to regulate the use of medicinal cannabis, a major step in a broader reform to create the world’s largest legal cannabis market in the Latin American country.

The new regulation, signed off on by Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, will now allow pharmaceutical companies to begin doing medical research on cannabis products.


Mexico poised to curtail cooperation with U.S. in fight against drug cartels


Source: CBS News

Mexico City – The lower house of Mexico’s congress overwhelmingly approved a law Tuesday limiting foreign agents operating in the country and lifting their immunity in a decision that could impact its relationship with the U.S. government, a key partner in its fight against drug cartels. One senior U.S. official told CBS News the law was “a disgrace,” and would severely complicate the fight against the cartels.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador supports the bill and is expected to sign it into law. The legislation is seen as a direct backlash to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency’s arrest in Los Angeles of former Mexican Defense Minister General Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda, who was indicted on drug charges earlier this year.


Mexico Passes Law Curbing Operations of Foreign Security Agents


Source: The Wall Street Journal

MEXICO CITY—President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s ruling party pushed through a new law Tuesday curbing the role of foreign law-enforcement officers in Mexico, a move the U.S. believes will cripple bilateral efforts to battle powerful drug cartels.

The legislation, which passed by a vote of 329 to 98 in the lower house, follows the October arrest in the U.S. of Mexico’s former defense minister on drug trafficking and corruption charges. The shocking detention of Gen. Salvador Cienfuegos prompted Mr. López Obrador to question the role of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, portraying it as a rogue agency running roughshod over Mexican sovereignty.


Legalization Advocates Hope to End Mexico’s Drug War


Source: Foreign Policy

Adetermined political movement to end the war on drugs has taken shape across Europe and North America. Harm reduction advocates say lives can be saved and resources spared, if only the state would move away from punishing drug users. Perhaps, some predict, the state could even get into the business of regulating the production and sale of once-illegal substances.

Just last month, voters in Oregon and politicians in Vancouver, British Columbia, approved plans to decriminalize all illicit drugs, paving the way for a health care approach. They’re following the example of Portugal, which decriminalized drugs in 2001 and has seen overall success. More than a dozen U.S. states have legalized the recreational use of cannabis, as well as Canada, South Africa, Uruguay, and a smattering of other countries and jurisdictions.


Mexico fast-tracks law that could limit anti-drug cooperation with U.S.


Source: The Washington Post

MEXICO CITY — Outraged by the arrest in California of a former defense minister, the Mexican government is championing a law that is likely to throttle cooperation with U.S. anti-drug agents and the FBI, setting up a potential crisis in relations as President-elect Joe Biden prepares to assume office.

The legislation has taken the U.S. government by surprise. It was introduced shortly after American authorities tried to defuse tensions with Mexico by dropping drug-trafficking charges against Gen. Salvador Cienfuegos — a highly unusual move.


Mexican Cartels Are Now Cooking Chinese Chemicals in Dutch Meth Labs


Source: The Wall Street Journal

MOERDIJK, Netherlands—When police raided a barge moored here last year, they found more than just a sophisticated crystal meth lab that started sinking as they inspected it.

The setup—Mexican cooks using Dutch equipment to process chemicals from China—offered a window into the new global drug economy. A number of recent Dutch narcotics raids have snagged Mexican nationals, including ones linked to the violent Jalisco New Generation Cartel, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.


Mexico’s cartels rule world’s vast fentanyl market in race for huge profits


Source: The Guardian

Jorge A is Mexican businessman employed by an import-export company that specializes in the trade of tequila and agricultural and chemical products. But in January 2016, he was a long way from his home in Culiacán, capital of Sinaloa state.

Two associates accompanied him as he travelled from Shanghai to Hong Kong, Japan, and finally, India.


Mexican president wants to restrict US agents in Mexico


Source: The Associated Press

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has tossed another hot potato to U.S. President-elect Joe Biden with a proposal that would restrict U.S. agents in Mexico and remove their diplomatic immunity.

The proposal submitted quietly this week by López Obrador would require Drug Enforcement Administration agents to hand over all information they collect to the Mexican government, and require any Mexican officials they contact to submit a full report to Mexico’s Foreign Relations Department.


Special Report: Burner phones and banking apps: Meet the Chinese ‘brokers’ laundering Mexican drug money


Source: Reuters

GUADALAJARA (Reuters) – Early next year, a Chinese businessman named Gan Xianbing will be sentenced in a Chicago courtroom for laundering just over $530,000 in Mexican cartel drug money.

Gan, 50, was convicted in February of money laundering and operating an unlicensed money-transfer business that whisked cartel cash from U.S. drug sales offshore. Gan has maintained his innocence; his lawyers say he was entrapped by U.S. authorities. The trial garnered few headlines and little of the public fascination reserved for kingpins of powerful narcotics syndicates that U.S. federal prosecutors said Gan served.


The search for the disappeared points to Mexico’s darkest secrets


Source: The Washington Post

EJIDO SAN ANTONIO DEL ALTO, México — Karla Quintana was on her knees, looking at some pebble-like objects she’d scooped from the desert floor. “Fragments,” one of her companions said, and everyone knew what that meant.

A decade ago, thugs from the Zetas cartel had brought their victims to this windswept patch of turf. They’d hacked them to pieces and roasted them until the bones exploded. The remains were dumped in shallow, unmarked graves.