Animating the End of Prohibition: Artists Confronting the Challenges of Marihuana Regularization in Mexico

Animating the End of Prohibition: Artists Confronting the Challenges of Marihuana Regularization in Mexico

On February 22, 2019, the Supreme Court ruled the absolute prohibition of marihuana in Mexico unconstitutional. A bill permitting the regularization of cannabis is currently up for debate in Congress. While legislative changes are well underway, there are still a number of challenges in terms of cultural awareness, particularly the stigmatization facing both marihuana users and cultivators. Together with the Hemispheric Institute, a group of Mexican artists are developing a campaign that uses humor and art to change perceptions and stigmatizing attitudes. Cartoons and animations will be distributed in Mexico City and throughout the country with the help of publicity on public transportation and in the various State Secretariats.

We invite you to this forum in order to learn about the current status of this campaign, to exchange ideas on this important legislative initiative, and to reflect on the role of artists in this process.


Jesusa Rodríguez (Mexico, 1955) is a scenic creator. From 1980 to 2018, she directed and performed in opera, theater, and political farces. Since December 2018, she has been a Senator in Mexico. Her greatest achievement was, and still is, to accumulate disgrace. She was awarded Best Actress at the Festival of the Americas in Montreal, 1989, and is a recipient of a 2000 Obie Award, with Liliana Felipe.

Julio Glockner is an anthropologist and graduate of the Escuela Nacional de Antropología e Historia. He is a researcher with the Institute of Social Sciences and Humanities at the Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla and co-founder of the School of Social Anthropology. He has published his work on the cosmovision of Indigenous communities in Mexico in academic journals and edited volumes. He is author of Los volcanes sagrados. Mitos y rituales en el Popocatépetl y la Iztaccíhuatl (Sacred Volcanoes. Myths and Rituals in Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl); La realidad alterada: Drogas, enteógenos y cultura (Altered Reality: Drugs, Entheogens, and Culture); La mirada interior. Plantas sagradas del mundo amerindio (Inner Vision: Sacred Plants in the Amerindian World); and El paraíso barroco de Santa María Tonantzintla (The Baroque Paradise of Santa María Tonantzintla).

Zara Snapp holds a Master’s in Public Policy from Harvard University, and a Bachelor’s in Political Science from the University of Colorado, Denver. She is the co-founder of the RIA Institute and a consultant for the ReverdeSer Colectivo (Mexico). Snapp is the author of Diccionario de Drogas (Drug Dictionary), published in 2015 by Ediciones B. .

Jorge Hernández Tinajero is a political scientist and internationalist specializing in drug policy. Cannabis and poppy are among his interests and are the subject of his recent publications. He is a founding member of the Asociación Mexicana de Estudios de Cannabis (Mexican Association of Cannabis Studies) (AMEXA) and the Colectivo por una Política Integral hacia las Drogas A.C. (Alliance for a Comprehensive Drug Policy), where he served as President from 2009-2015. @elcalamar

Rafael Pineda (Monero Rapé) is a political cartoonist and animator from Veracruz. He holds a degree in Social Communication from UAM-X, and studied drawing at the National School of Fine Arts in Paris. He is Director of El Chamuco magazine and host of Chamuco TV. Since 2007, he has published his work in Milenio Diario. Pineda is a member of Cartoonists for Peace and Cartónclub Latino, and was the recipient of the 2011 Gilberto Rincón Gallardo Award. He was a finalist of the Gabriel García Márquez Prize for his documentary animation Soy el número 16 (I’m number 16) and member of the winning project Buscadores in 2017. He received the National Journalism Award in 2016 and second place for the Walter Reuter Award for Chamuco TV in 2017. In that same year, he received an honorable mention for the 2017 National Journalism Prize for his collaborative work on Buscadores.

Diana Taylor is University Professor and Professor of Performance Studies and Spanish at New York University. She is the award winning author of multiple books, among them: Theatre of Crisis (1991), Disappearing Acts (1997), The Archive and the Repertoire (2003), and Performance (2016). Her new book, ¡Presente! The Politics of Presence, is forthcoming with Duke University Press. Taylor is director of the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics which she helped found in 1998. In 2017, Taylor was President of the Modern Language Association and was recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2018 she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Science.

Marlène Ramírez-Cancio (Moderator) is Associate Director, Arts & Media, at the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics. In her role, she heads up the curation and production of Hemi’s large-scale, biannual Encuentros; curates HIDVL, a growing digital video library that archives and circulates the work of politically engaged artists; directs EMERGENYC, Hemi’s emerging artist program focused on art and activism; initiated and runs Hemi’s Artist Residencies for local NYC artists; and has co-created initiatives like the Helix Queer Performance Network, supporting queer artists of color and fostering intergenerational mentorship.