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Mexico Unveils Rules for National Medical Cannabis Industry

Mexico health officials have published rules for the country’s medical cannabis industry and President Andres Manuel López Obrador approved regulations letting pharmaceutical companies conduct medical cannabis research.

From by TG Branfalt January 13, 2021

Mexico’s Health Ministry on Tuesday made public rules for the medical cannabis industry and President Andres Manuel López Obrador signed off on a regulation allowing pharmaceutical companies to commence medical research on cannabis products, Reuters reports.

The rules for pharmaceutical firms require them to obtain permission from COFEPRIS, the nation’s health regulator. Under the guidelines, the research must be conducted by independent laboratories under strictly controlled conditions.

The framework includes rules allowing the importation of cannabis seeds into Mexico and the use of cannabis derivatives and cannabis-based medications, Mexico News Daily reports.

The regulations do not cover adult-use legalization. In 2019, Mexico’s Supreme Court declared cannabis prohibition unconstitutional and required lawmakers to implement laws allowing adult-use possession and sales by October of that year but were given an extension by the court. Last November, the Senate approved a legalization measure but the following month the Supreme Court again granted an extension until late April in order for the lower chamber to debate the reforms, which they described as complex.

The bill approved by the Senate allows personal possession up to 28 grams, home cultivation up to four plants, and taxed-and-regulated sales, and THC caps. According to the bill text, the reforms would “improve living conditions” and “contribute to the reduction of crime linked to drug trafficking.” The measure does include social equity provisions, including requiring at least 40% of industry licenses are awarded to indigenous, low-income, or historically marginalized communities for the first five years. Public consumption would be permitted but not in places where tobacco use is banned or where people under 18-years-old could be exposed. Driving under the influence of cannabis would be outlawed.

Once the reforms are approved, Mexico will join Uruguay and Canada as the only nations to legalize cannabis for adults. The Mexican market would be the world’s largest by population.

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