When Estado de México law enforcement apprehended eight people behind the cannabis-infused version of Pelón Pelo Rico candies last week, the message was clear. No matter how cute and clever your business plan, weed is still illegal in Mexico.
The raid came within a week of the publication of a Vice en Español/Munchies feature on the entrepreneurs. In that article, the reporter wrote that the creators of the wittily named “Pelón Pone Rico” candies were already wary of legal repercussions:
“They tell me that their plan is to maintain a low profile, at least until marijuana is legalized in this country. That’s why their distribution method is through social media, using a pair of private accounts where all new followers are verified before they’re accepted. Out of precaution.”
But the delicious story went viral, and was picked up by international publications (including our own), spurring law enforcement agents to put an end to the operation. The cops’ haul from the subsequent raid revealed the small scale of the operation; 24 “Pelón Pone Rico” label strips and 12 transparent plastic containers filled with the cannabis-tamarind mixture.
In the United States — where medical cannabis is legal in 31 states and recreational marijuana in nine — entrepreneurs developing unique new products are rewarded with features in business magazines. But in Mexico, medical marijuana has only been legally available for a highly selective pool of patients since 2017. Though public support is growing, activists still see widespread legalization as a long term goal. In the interest of keeping cannabis entrepreneurs safe until then, let the Pelón Pone Rico story serve as a reminder to marijuana culture journalists; thou shall not narc.