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Mexico is poised to become the biggest legal marijuana market in the world. Who will most benefit?

Mexico is poised to become the biggest legal marijuana market in the world. Who will most benefit?

Mexico’s marijuana revolution is on display steps from the nation’s Senate, where for the last nine months activists have maintained a fragrant cannabis garden.



a close up of a person holding an object in his hand: An activist smokes marijuana at a protest encampment outside Mexico's Senate building. (Ricardo Castelan Cruz / Eyepix Group / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)


© (Ricardo Castelan Cruz / Eyepix Group / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
An activist smokes marijuana at a protest encampment outside Mexico’s Senate building. (Ricardo Castelan Cruz / Eyepix Group / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

Each day, hundreds of people stroll amid a labyrinth of towering green plants, freely lighting joints and getting high.

Their wafting smoke is meant to serve as a reminder to senators, who have to walk through the plumes to get to work. Lawmakers have until Dec. 15 to pass pot legislation under orders from the Supreme Court, which two years ago struck down a marijuana ban as unconstitutional.

After decades of restrictive drug policies that fueled deadly cartel wars, Mexico is poised to become the biggest legal cannabis market in the world.



a group of people in a garden: Mexico's marijuana revolution is on display steps from the nation's Senate, where for the last nine months activists have maintained a fragrant cannabis garden. (Kate Linthicum / Los Angeles Times)


© (Kate Linthicum / Los Angeles Times)
Mexico’s marijuana revolution is on display steps from the nation’s Senate, where for the last nine months activists have maintained a fragrant cannabis garden. (Kate Linthicum / Los Angeles Times)

The looming deadline has intensified debate over exactly what legalization should look like and whom it should benefit. Among the questions dogging lawmakers: How easy or difficult should it be for users to buy and consume pot? And should the estimated 200,000 families growing it now be protected from competition with the large, foreign marijuana firms that have been jockeying for influence?

“You have a broad spectrum of people who want to be involved,” said Avis Bulbulyan, a Glendale-based consultant who has advised several U.S. weed companies looking to expand to Mexico. “The question becomes: ‘Who gets to profit off this?'”

A bill that would allow private companies to sell

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