Recreational Use of Cannabis is Now Legal in MexicoBy María Fernanda Barría | Thu, 03/11/2021 - 14:22
Last Wednesday, the Chamber of Deputies approved the Federal Law for the Regulation of Cannabis. With 316 votes in favor, 129 against and 23 abstentions, the bill decriminalizes cannabis for recreational, medical and scientific use, taking another step towards the creation of what will be one of the world's largest cannabis markets. “The importance of the bill lies in addressing the regularization of cannabis with a human rights approach,” Arturo Hernández, a MORENA Federal Deputy, told El Economista. In the coming days, should the Senate approve the bill, this will be enforced after being published in the Official Journal of the Federation.
The bill discussed in Congress stipulates the creation of the Mexican Institute for the Regulation and Control of Cannabis, which will issue five types of licenses to control actions related to the cultivation, transformation, sale, research and export/import of marijuana. The regulation also oversees the “production of pharmacological derivatives and medicines and medical products for diagnosis, preventive, therapeutic, rehabilitative and palliative care.” In addition, it stipulates that prescriptions will have a bar code that only authorized doctors will be able to issue for the sale of medicines.
According to Forbes, some of the sector’s leading companies, such as Canopy Growth and The Green Organic Dutchman, both Canadian, have already shown interest in entering the hypothetical Mexican market. Today, the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI) has at least 234 procedures to register trademarks related to marijuana, whose global market could reach US$73.6 billion by 2027. “New consumption options and customized value propositions will drive the industry into FMCG territory,” Spiros Malandrakis, Alcoholic Beverages Industry Director at Euromonitor International, told Forbes.
Although President López Obrador is optimistic that legalization would limit drug cartel violence, analysts have warned that cannabis represents only a small percentage of criminal groups' market volume. “Anyone who thinks that this law will be a magic bullet that will reduce crime and homicides is being overly optimistic,” Alejandro Hope, a Mexican security analyst and former intelligence official, told The Wall Street Journal.
One of the main advocates for marijuana decriminalization has been former president Vicente Fox, now a Member of the Board of Directors at Khiron Life Sciences, a company dedicated to the development of medical marijuana. “Delaying the approval of the law allowed Mexico to learn about other models and other legislations in the world, which is an advantage for improving what is known in other places,” Fox said in an interview with Reuters.