The proposal to legalize marijuana in Mexico is slated for next week in the Chamber of Deputies. It’s a long-awaited vote and a move months after the Senate approved the reform.
From a legislature’s point of view, there is still no formal revised bill for MPs to incorporate and it must go through the committee process before potentially being returned to the Senate. Martha Tagle Martinez, a member of the health committee, said Tuesday that several groups tried to contact after receiving a bill to regulate the cannabis market, but cited possible harm to Mexicans as the reason for rejecting the law.
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Martha Tagle Martinez received these concerns and made it clear that “there is still no formal or final document”. The Political Coordination Board, set up by party leaders to reach consensus on marijuana legalization, has scheduled a minimum action for March 9th. She has stated that when a bill is in place, it will go to the Health and Justice Committees to analyze, discuss, amend and approve the draft opinion before it is heard.
Currently, the bill does not meet the requirements of the Mexican Supreme Court, which found the prohibition on personal possession and cultivation of marijuana to be unconstitutional in a 2018 ruling. Legislators pushed ahead with ending criminalization but struggled to meet deadlines for policy change and had the opportunity to legalize cannabis nationwide by the end of April.
When the Health Committee held its preliminary discussion last month on the issues at hand, it had already decided that it would hold four meetings to discuss the legislation, but Carmen Medel Palma, President of the Health Committee, has not yet called them and wants to speed up the process .
Proponents, while keen to see lawmakers officially end the ban, hope the delay will give them more time to convince lawmakers to address important concerns about certain provisions of the current bill. The nature of their concerns related to components of social justice and the severe penalties for violating the rules. These social justice concerns included the potential to increase the number of licenses to be granted to those harmed by the ban. According to Zara Snapp of the Instituto RIA, “avoiding the formation of corporate oligopolies and promoting a horizontal and inclusive market that fosters dignified participation and fair conditions for communities in vulnerable situations” rather than seeing full-blown vertically integrated cannabis companies.
For those unfamiliar with the basics, the Senate bill would create a regulated cannabis market for Mexico that would allow adults ages 18 and older to buy and own up to an ounce of marijuana and grow a maximum of six plants for personal use . In the first five years after implementation, at least forty percent of cannabis business licenses must be granted to indigenous, low-income, or historically marginalized communities. According to some sources, the bill proposes to allow the sale, import and export of non-psychoactive cannabis products for industrial use. Many large companies are positioning themselves for a time when Mexico is opening the world’s largest cultivation and retail market.
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