Cannabis Industry Welcomes RegulationBy Miriam Bello | Wed, 02/03/2021 - 12:36
Q: What does Mexico stand in relation to its landscape for fully legalizing the use of cannabis?
A: In June 2017, Mexico legalized cannabis for medical use by amending the General Health Law. This amendment, published in the Official Journal of the Federation (DOF), considers a regulation that will foster the creation of the necessary government bodies so the industry can take off. After three years, on Jan.12, 2021, Mexican government published the new regulation for research and medicinal cannabis, with rules for sowing, transformation, sale, import and export.
This is totally different from what has been discussed in Congress about a new Federal Cannabis Law that focuses on recreational use. In this case, our position is quite clear and we ask that what already exists be respected. This means that the same institutions that regulate medicines, such as the Ministry of Health and COFEPRIS, should also regulate cannabis.
In none of the cases have the authorities complied with the deadlines. Despite this, we still see the government’s will to legalize and regulate cannabis.
Q: How has GPIC contributed to sharing the overall benefits that would result from a cannabis industry in Mexico?
A: As an emerging industry at the international level, there is still a great deal of expectation. According to Grand View Research, the global legal cannabis market is expected to reach US$73.6 billion by 2027. Of this total, Mexico is projected to contribute between US$7 billion and US$8 billion, if Mexico publishes the law and regulations for the medicinal and recreational use of cannabis. A legalized industry would help the country's economy now, more than ever, by also generating jobs. Projections show the industry will generate between 150,000 and 200,000 direct jobs in Mexico once it is fully legalized. In addition, other industries such as transportation, security, consulting or education will also benefit.
Q: What has GPIC identified as the main medical contributions of cannabis, even as some suggest there is little evidence of its efficacy?
A: Much research is still needed. However, scientific evidence regarding the benefits of cannabis already exists. For example, the difference between CBD and THC has already been endorsed by the UN through the World Health Organization (WHO). Moreover, the UN no longer classifies cannabis in the same drug category as heroin or morphine. There was a vote to reclassify the plant's dangerousness and the scientific evidence is beginning to resonate within the international scientific community.
Likewise, investigations done by private institutions have found a great deal of evidence that has led to legalization in the US and Mexico. Studies have already shown that cannabis helps to control epileptic seizures, for instance.
Q: How can the government foster equal participation between a national inexperienced industry and multinational competitors that have had eyes on Mexico for years?
A: We firmly believe that international cooperation is necessary. No country can be the sole judge of a movement as global as the legalization of cannabis. There must be further focused studies per country. In Mexico, for example, one of the main health problems is diabetes and much more research needs to be done on cannabis for the treatment of this disease, in collaboration with other countries.
In terms of harvesting, Mexico has always been an illegal leader. The country’s geographical and climate advantages allow for year-round crops, in comparison to Canada or the US. The General Health Law already contemplates harvesting and gives preference to the most vulnerable communities. It is foreseen that local growers will have preferential access to licenses and permits.
Q: What are the considerations that Mexico should take into account when it comes to cannabis licensing?
A: When it comes to licenses for the medical use of cannabis, COFEPRIS already issues health and operating licenses. However, five different types of licenses are listed in the Federal Law on the Regulation of Cannabis, which will be discussed on February in the Congress. These depend on which part of the supply chain a person wishes to participate in: seed research, harvesting, processing or marketing. These licenses are new and an individual can participate in more than one.
Grupo Promotor de la Industria de Cannabis (GPIC) brings together the leading players in the cannabis industry, from scientists, academics and investors to potential national and international producers and marketers. It generates reliable information through public debate that favors decision-making.