Mexico’s Supreme Court Told Lawmakers They Had To Pass A Bill Legalizing Marijuana And Now They’re One Step Closer
Over the past two years, milestones and history have been made with regularity for the cannabis industry. Last year, for example, we witnessed Canada become the first industrialized country in the world to give the green light to recreational marijuana. Regulations concerning cannabis derivatives (e.g.’s edibles, infused beverages, vapes, topicals, and concentrates) also went into effect last week.
Outside Canada, we’ve seen 33 U.S. states legalize the use of medical marijuana, to some degree, over the past 23 years, 11 of which have also waved the green flag on adult consumption. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration also approved the very first cannabis-derived drug last year to treat two rare forms of childhood-onset epilepsy.
And the milestones just keep coming.
Mexico has introduced a plan to legalize recreational marijuana across the nation.
On Oct. 17, 2019, a number of Mexican Senate committees unveiled draft legislation that would make our neighbor to the south the third country worldwide, after Uruguay and Canada, to legalize recreational marijuana. As reported by Canamo Mexico and Marijuana Moment, the 74 article, 42-page draft is similar to a bill proposed last year by Interior Secretary Olga Sanchez Cordero, who was then serving as a senator. However, the current legislation also incorporates bits and pieces of numerous other legislative proposals, and may be further modified by input received from the public.
Here are eight things you should know about Mexico’s groundbreaking cannabis bill, which seems to be very close to becoming law.
The bill is mostly just a formality since Mexico’s Supreme Court has already effectively legalized it.
To begin with, you should understand that Mexico’s push toward adult-use legalization is really just a formality at this point.
You see, Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled last year that a ban on the recreational use and possession of cannabis was unconstitutional. This was the fifth time that Mexico’s highest court had reached a similar verdict. In Mexico, when the Supreme Court reaches a similar verdict five time, it becomes the set standard. Thus, recreational marijuana has already, in theory, been legalized by the Mexican Supreme Court. It’s simply a matter of lawmakers drawing up the rules and regulations that’ll govern the industry by putting pen to paper.
Mexico will legalize marijuana for all users over the age of 18.
One of the most glaring differences you’ll see between Mexico’s legislation and select U.S. states and Canada is that the minimum age of purchase and possession is slated to be set at only 18 in our neighbor to the south. Mexico has a considerably larger population than Canada (127.6 million versus 37.4 million), and the fact that adults three years younger in Mexico could potentially become consumers might make the Mexican market all that more attractive to the pot industry.
And like in most jurisdiction that have legalized marijuana, use will only be allowed in private.
As should be little surprise, the initial draft calls for the consumption of recreational marijuana to occur only in private spaces. This is consistent with pretty much every U.S. state and Canada. Although the first cannabis café opened in West Hollywood, Calif., just three weeks ago, pot cafes and other non-private places of consumption are a rarity, and it’s likely to remain that way for the foreseeable future throughout North America.
Also, Mexico will have very strict packaging restrictions.
Also consistent with the message that’s being sent throughout legalized North American markets, Mexico’s recreational weed legislation calls for packaging to be nondescript, and for no real people or fictional characters to appear on that packaging. Mexico, like Canada and the U.S., is trying to use these tough regulations to (pardon the pun) weed out illegal production, as well as discourage adolescents from being lured to cannabis products.
And edibles and beverages will only be available on the medicinal market to those with a prescription.
Arguably the most interesting aspect of Mexico’s recreational marijuana draft legislation is that it would only allow for medical marijuana patients to purchase edibles and cannabis-infused beverages. That’s meaningful from an investment perspective given that derivatives almost always bear considerably higher margins for growers than dried cannabis flower. Medical marijuana has been legal in Mexico since June 2017.
There will be a central agency charged with regulation and enforcement.
Similar to the setup in Canada, a central agency, known as the Cannabis Institute, will be responsible for overseeing Mexico’s marijuana industry. The Cannabis Institute would be delegated with setting potency limits for recreational weed, implementing whatever legislation is passed, and issuing cultivation and/or sales licenses. Surprisingly, Health Canada has proven to be more of a crutch than an aide in the early going for the Canadian pot industry, so it’ll be interesting to see how well the Cannabis Institute performs, assuming this is, indeed, the legislation that becomes law in Mexico.
Mexico is also protecting Indigenous farmers by giving them priority over foreign-owned big businesses.
Another important thing investors should know is that major North American cannabis businesses aren’t going to be given priority in terms of being awarded licenses. The draft legislation calls for low-income individuals, small farmers, and indigenous peoples to have licensing priority in Mexico. This is likely being done to ensure that Mexico’s economy, and not foreign companies, benefit most, as well as keeps the Mexican recreational market as competitive as possible.
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