Mexico Threatens to Censor Country’s Only Cannabis Magazine

The Mexican government is threatening to shut down the country’s only cannabis lifestyle magazine, Cáñamo, according to the Columbia Journalism Review. Cáñamo is Mexico’s branch of Cáñamo España, a long-running cannabis magazine based out of Spain.

Mexico’s Commission for the Qualification of Illustrated Publications and Magazines, under the Ministry of the Interior, announced last year that it would deny the magazine’s circulation certification because the magazine “acts against morality and good manners” and it “apologizes for the consumption of prohibited substances.”

Although the commission banned 250 other publications, Cáñamo is the sole publication to be targeted since 2012. Censorship reigns in Mexico during the era of drug cartels due to the dangers that are associated with publishing. The level of press freedoms in Mexico have been compared to that of Syria or Iraq.

Cáñamo employees believe that the stigma in Mexico can eventually change. “It is true that there is a stigma in the world against marijuana, but for some years it has been changing, and marijuana has gone from being something that stigmatizes something that gives value and prestige,” said Carlos Zamudio, director of Cáñamo Colombia, using Google Translate.

The commission’s secretary, Joel Ruiz, told the Columbia Journalism Review that if Cañamo only reported on the science of medical cannabis there wouldn’t be a problem.

If the ruling holds up, anyone that publishes or sells Cáñamo could face up to 15 days in jail plus a fine. Although  Cáñamo is only printed on about 5,000 glossy print copies, its importance to the people of Mexico cannot be denied.

“It’s absurd,” Cáñamo editor Julio Zenil said, that printing graphic violence in media is commonplace while cannabis is censored. “Censorship of Cáñamo is . . . arbitrary . . . and has nothing to do with marijuana. In a country where journalists are in grave danger, censoring a publication is further silencing voices that think differently than government.” The magazine’s attorneys plan on appealing the commission’s decision within the next 12 to 18 months.

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