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News Article

Medical Cannabis Regulation Hit by Another Delay

By Miriam Bello | Wed, 07/01/2020 - 13:17

Back in 2017, the Mexican Congress reformed the General Health Law to allow the medical use of cannabis and its research. However, a regulatory framework is still missing to be able to make this a reality. Earlier this year, the Senate had promised a law initiative for the regulation and control of cannabis to authorize its legal use. Yesterday, June 30, Congress was given an extension of another two months to discuss the matter.

This law initiative intends to regulate marijuana planting, growing, harvesting, production labeling, packaging, promotion, advertising, sponsorship, transportation, marketing, sale and distribution, which has been prohibited in the country since 1920. Furthermore, proposals include allowing people to carry up to 28 grams of cannabis.

MBN spoke with KHIRON, an expert company on the use and commercialization of medical cannabis, to put into perspective this scenario. “Having no regulation to that law creates a legal vacuum and causes illegal commercialization of the drug. Neglecting these regulations also endangers the patient as they are illegally accessing products with unknown quality standards,” says María Fernanda Arboleda, International Director of Medical Services at KHIRON.

Moreover, Andrés Galofe, Vice President of KHIRON explained that education is key to fully incorporate the use of medical cannabis into the Mexican society. “The medical community needs to understand where we are coming from and where we are going if they are to trust KHIRON and its products. In terms of regulatory standards, taking the long route is always better that cutting corners because we always need to work from a stable legal standpoint. The clearer the regulations, the greater the likelihood that we will dabble in that market. The sale of the product must always consider the benefit for the patient and making their healthcare processes easier,” he said.

A change in mindset is also needed to approach regulation, says Arboleda. “Social stigma has created barriers around the prescription of cannabis, partly because of limitations on medical education in the subject. Globally, universities rarely teach medical students about medicinal cannabis. As the subject becomes more common, patients are now starting to ask doctors about it. However, if doctors do not have the knowledge and information on the subject, there is no real advance,” she says,

In Mexico and many Latin American countries, marijuana has been a historic subject usually related to negative things. “Regulations on the subject are especially challenging because this generation grew up with a prohibitional mindset regarding cannabis use, even if it has been historically used. Unfortunately, it has also been related to drug-dealing, which fed those social stigmas that reject use of the plant without question,” says Arboleda. Despite all of those barriers, Galofe says KHIRON sees Mexico as the epicenter of many operational plans. “The market opportunity is huge, as well as the strategic alliances that we could form with distributers, pharmacies and the clinical market,” he says.

That is not an isolated comment. A report by El Financiero mentions that Mexico’s potential on the subject is rooted in several key things that are important for corporate success, such as a privileged geographical location. Unlike Canada, which has already issued regulations regarding marijuana production, countries like Mexico can obtain the product all year round, allowing to have a constant harvest without incurring in extra costs of electricity, heating and skilled labor.

According to Grand View Research, the world’s marijuana market will exceed US$76 billion by the end of 2027 and Mexico has a US$2 billion earning potential with the creation of 70,000 formal jobs, according to New Frontier Data.

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Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Senior Journalist and Industry Analyst