There is a discomforting sense that Mexico is perpetually on the eve of cannabis legalization, as the country's Congress wins a six-month extension from the Supreme Court to pass a law freeing the herb. But foreign capital is already eyeing Mexico's emergent legal cannabis sector—even amid a terrifying escalation in the bloody cartel wars.
As of April 26 environmental activists still hadn't learned the Mexican government's response to requests that the Missouri-based biotech giant Monsanto Company filed on March 26 for permission to expand the sowing of transgenic corn in four northern and western states. Monsanto asked for clearance to sow commercial crops in 28 municipalities in the state of Chihuahua, 11 in Coahuila and nine in Durango. These requests were in an addition to filings it made in January and February to carry out noncommercial pilot projects in the same municipalities and in Comondú in Baja California Sur. Another biotech company, Swiss-based Syngenta AG, filed on March 26 for permission to carry out pilot projects in the state of Sinaloa. People opposing the use of genetically modified organisms (GMO) for crops say the total requests would affect 12 million hectares.
The death toll after an attempted prison break in north-central Mexico's Durango state on Dec. 18 has risen to at least 23. Nine guards and 14 inmates were killed in clashes at the Social Reinsertion Center (CERESO) Number 2 in the city of Gómez Palacio. The facility's guards fired in the air to stop the jailbreak, and prisoners returned fire at the watchtowers and guard areas. Authorities are now investigating how the prisoners got hold of the weapons. The CERESO has been seized by the military, and the prisoners all relocated while the investigation is underway. CERESO Number 2 also made headlines in 2010 when the facility's warden was himself imprisoned after it emerged that inmates were allowed to borrow weapons from guards and leave the prison at night to carry out murders against gangland rivals. (La Jornada, Dec. 20; LAT, Dec. 19; Global Post, Dec. 18)