At the end of 2018, the Supreme Court of Mexico ruled that the prohibition of cannabis use by adults was unconstitutional. The court set a one-year deadline for legalizing cannabis in the country.
Mexico missed the first deadline because the legalization bill failed to reach consensus, and the second in April 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the December 15 deadline approaches, legislators have only two months left to pass a cannabis bill, while there are still many unknowns about the future regulation of cannabis in Mexico.
Last August, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador assured that legalization was underway, stating that “‘there will be legal reform’ when legislators meet again in the fall.
An initial cannabis reform project had been criticized for favoring large companies and instituting significant costs for companies, especially on “seed-to-sale” tracking, which would greatly reduce small producers’ access to the market.
Representatives of the Canadian and U.S. cannabis industries have also been accused of interfering with legalization efforts.
It’s essentially about replicating prohibition for the poor, but creating a legal market for big business, said Alejandro Madrazo, a researcher at the Center for Economic Research and Teaching.
Mexico, with a population of about 130 million people, is on its way to becoming the largest legal market for cannabis in the world.
The impact would be quite significant,” said Lisa Pittman, a cannabis lawyer. The other countries that have already legalized cannabis – Canada and Uruguay – have much smaller populations than Mexico, and Mexico already has a long history of cannabis use and shipping cannabis across our borders,” Pittman said.
If the first bill passes into Mexican law, personal possession would be capped at 28 grams, and possession of up to 200 grams would be decriminalized. Also, individuals would be able to grow up to 20 registered plants.
The Senate is expected to pass the bill before the end of October. If the bill passes the Senate, it is unclear at this time whether it will be presented to the various committees or go directly to the Chamber of Deputies given the tight timeline.