Mexico Moves One Step Closer To Legalizing Adult Use Cannabis

Mexico took one step closer to adult-use marijuana legalization Wednesday as the country's lower chamber passed a revised version of the bill.

It's now up to the Senate, which passed a previous version of the bill in 2020. If approved, it would then head to bill supporter and President Andrés Manuel López Obrador for final approval.

The bill comes after the fifth ruling against cannabis prohibition by the country's Supreme Court in 2018.

Lawmakers received several deadline extensions due to differences over regulations and the pandemic. Its current deadline is April 30.

If approved, Mexico is widely expected to become the leader in legal cannabis in short order.

What's In The Bill?

Under the approved legislation, Mexico would establish a set of licenses for the entire supply chain — including personal use cultivation.

In all, licenses for cultivation, import/export, research, sale and transformation would be available.

Adults 18 and over would be allowed to possess and purchase up to 28 grams of cannabis. If granted a cultivation license, an individual can grow up to six plants, and eight for a household.

Public consumption laws would resemble tobacco. However, unlike tobacco, online and mail transactions are prohibited.

Opposition And Concern Remain

The bill's passage is a positive sign for legalization proponents. However, several hurdles remain, including opposition in a variety of forms.

The AP and Marijuana Moment report that primary points of worry include eliminating a marijuana-specific government agency to oversee regulations. Instead, the current bill finds cannabis managed by the National Commission Against Addictions.

The bill's new language also keeps hemp under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development's jurisdiction.

Additional concerns stem from the belief that legalization will lead to increased drug use.

Legalization advocates also voiced frustrations over the bill's lack of social equity and the inclusion of vertical integration licenses.

They contend that while the bill's vertical integration licenses are supposed to prioritize marginalized communities, they worry that the language is not specific enough.

If approved in its current form, advocates see international ventures benefiting while locals are shut out.

Meanwhile, bill proponents say legalization will curtail dangerous cartel activity in the country.

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