Now that Mexico has decriminalized marijuana, LSD, heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine in small quantities, investors are taking a closer look at companies that may benefit from the increased Mexican tourist trade. On Monday, August 24, laws were passed in Mexico to very little fanfare which eliminated crimes for possession of small amounts of these substances. Now individuals can possess up to a half-gram of cocaine and 40 grams of marijuana. The reasoning behind this change was that crackdowns didn't seem to reduce the violence and deaths from the war on drugs.
Back in January of this year, we featured an article about all the various publicly traded companies that are involved in the marketing of marijuana or its cannabinoid-based pharmaceutical products. Since that time, a couple of new publicly traded stocks have appeared on the horizon with marijuana or cannabis in their name. These may be interesting yet speculative very low cap plays if California and other states change their laws to legalize or decriminalize marijuana.
One stock sector worth checking out might be the Mexico based companies. An example would be Fomento Econmico Mexicano, S.A.B de C.V (FMX), also known as FEMSA, which is the largest beverage company in Mexico, and for that matter, all of Latin America. They produce many popular beers including Carta Blanca, Tecate, Tecate Light, Superior, Sol, Dos Equis Lager, and Dos Equis Ambar.
A more general way to play the Mexico stock market is through an ETF, iShares MSCI Mexico Investable Market Index Fund (EWW). There are also a couple of closed end funds such as the Mexico Fund, Inc. (MXF) and the Mexico Equity & Income Fund Inc. (MXE).
However, the stock play from this change would probably be in the travel industry, stocks that might take advantage of the "Spring Break" effect. For example, there are a couple of cruise lines with trips to Mexico that include Carnival Corp. (CCL) and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL). The Mexican airline industry might benefit also, especially if fuel prices soften, since there seems to be recovery taking place from the swine flu outbreak. A couple companies in that sector include Grupo Aeroportuario del Centro Norte S.A. de C.V. (OMAB) and Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacifico (PAC).
It will be interesting to see how this significant change in Mexico's laws will affect travel and the economy south of the border.
Author does not own any of the above.