Article by Alicia Lozano, LA Weekly
While both the United States and Mexico continue to suffer in their own ways from the war on drugs — one from skyrocketing overdose rates and the other from ruthless, omnipresent cartels — the neighbors are now linked by the unlikely exporting of cannabis-related products from Southern California to Latin America.
HempMeds, a subsidiary of Medical Marijuana Inc., has formed the first cannabis-based export partnership to Mexico, Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina and Chile with its export of Real Scientific Hemp Oil and its THC-free counterpart, Real Scientific Hemp Oil-X. The plants for these treatments are grown in northern European microclimates and claim to be free of pesticides and herbicides.
The California-based company’s partnership with Mexico — an ally of particular interest thanks to cultural and historical ties that date back centuries — was solidified earlier this year when Cofepris, the Mexican health department, approved the country’s first permit allowing the import of hemp-based CBD oil across its border. The announcement came after years of intense pressure on Mexican authorities from medical marijuana allies and advocates pleading on behalf of two families with children who have severe forms of epilepsy. Recently, Mexico also eased up on its no-THC stance and passed the country’s first medical marijuana legislation. Many in Mexico see the move as a step toward eventually legalizing pot in a nation drowning in drug violence.
“Despite the terrible cartel violence, the regulatory authority in Mexico saw the potential for CBD,” says Stuart Titus, CEO of Medical Marijuana Inc. “Today we remain the only legal, cannabis-based products allowed into the country.”
The road to Mexico’s evolving stance on marijuana begins with Alina Maldonado Montes de Oca, a young girl from the small town of San Andres Tuxtla in the state of Veracruz. She had her first seizure when she was just an infant. They increased almost immediately, peaking at 25 to 40 small attacks per day, with grand mal seizures striking up to twice per week. Doctors found that she had hypoxia, an oxygen deficiency to certain parts of the body, which affected her brain development and caused both epilepsy and infantile cerebral palsy. Maldonado was treated with 14 different kinds of medication, each one with an array of painful side effects, including liver damage and gastritis.