Medical cannabis is now legal in Mexico, after President Enrique Peña Nieto issued a decree confirming an April decision by the Lower House of Congress which passed medical cannabis legislation 374-4. In December, the Mexican Senate approved the measure 98-7.
The decree orders the Ministry of Health to set up a national medical cannabis system within 180 days.
The move comes more than a year after Nieto expressed his support for medical cannabis during a speech on international drug policy at the United Nations General Assembly.
“I am giving voice to those who have … expressed the necessity of changing the regulatory framework to authorize the use of marijuana for medical and scientific purposes,” he said during his remarks. “We should be flexible to change that which has not yielded results, the paradigm based essentially in prohibitionism, the so-called ‘War on Drugs’ … [which] has not been able to limit production, trafficking nor the global consumption of drugs.”
Last year, another bill that would have provided sweeping cannabis law reforms in the nation was stalled in the Senate; however lawmakers have indicated it could be reassessed in September. That bill, which would have raised the decriminalized possession threshold, was submitted by Nieto but blocked by his own party.
Initially, only products with 1 percent THC or lower will be allowed until Health Ministry officials raise the limits. Cannabis cultivation for medical and scientific purposes will also be permitted.
In 2015, the Mexican Supreme Court ruled that individuals should be allowed to grow, distribute, and use cannabis personally; however Nieto has said he does not support broad legalization.
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