Mexico’s Chamber of Deputies Sets Floor Vote for Cannabis Legalization Bill
As of Wednesday morning, the Lower House of Mexico’s Congress was planning an imminent floor vote on a sweeping cannabis decriminalization and legalization bill. The legislation cleared two key committees on Tuesday, setting up an important vote on what could quickly become the world’s largest legal cannabis market.
The proposed law is supported by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and the governing Morena party.
In 2018, Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled that an absolute ban on recreational use of marijuana was unconstitutional. Thus began the formal effort to legalize cannabis, which brings us to today’s planned vote. The country’s judicial branch has exerted influence on the process, giving legislators a deadline (extended to April 2021) to pass a bill and legalize a regulated industry around the cannabis plant.
The recent delays came out of ongoing debate over that regulatory structure: How should this new industry be arranged for the most comprehensive social and economic benefit?
The bill would kick regulatory authority to the existing National Commission Against Addictions (rather than a new agency, as previously stipulated in earlier versions of the bill). Licensing categories would include cultivation, transformation, sale, research and export or import. As written currently, the bill would allow anyone 18 or order to pursue a permit not only to consume and possess cannabis (up to 28 grams at a time) but to work in the industry as well.
Home-grow would be allowed under this bill, though adults interested in this option would need to register with the federal government.
An affirmative vote from the Lower House would deliver the bill back to the Senate, where an earlier version was passed last fall.