After long months of waiting, the Mexican Senate on Thursday approved the bill to legalize cannabis in Mexico.
Before it becomes law, the text must also be adopted by the country’s other congressional body, the Chamber of Deputies.
The future law, released in draft form earlier this month, will establish a regulated cannabis market in Mexico, allowing adults 18 years and older to buy and possess up to 28 grams of cannabis and grow up to 6 plants for personal use.
There were some technical late-breaking changes incorporated into the bill. Like increasing the limit to 6 plants from the initial limit of 4 self-cultivated plants per person to ensure that people who grow cannabis for personal use are not forced to report their plants to regulators.
A further change requires the government to erase the criminal records of people who have already been convicted of cannabis within 6 months.
Legislators also removed the prohibition on possessing more than one type of cannabis license, allowing for the vertical integration of cannabis companies. An earlier version of the bill would have only allowed people from vulnerable communities to hold more than one type of license.
Another amendment stipulates that non-profit consumer associations, such as the Cannabis Social Clubs that collectively grow cannabis, must be located at least 500 meters from schools, sports, and recreation centers and any place where third parties who have not given their consent could be exposed to smoke.
The Senate voted in favor of the bill by 82 votes to 18, with 7 abstentions.