Lawmakers in Mexico’s Chamber of Deputies approved a bill on Wednesday to legalize the production, distribution, possession, and adult use of cannabis nationwide, the New York Times reports. The bill was approved “in general terms” on a 316-129 vote, according to the report. The bill moves next back to the Senate, where it should easily pass, then to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who is expected to sign the bill into law.
The legalization bill would let adults legally possess up to 28 grams of cannabis and grow six plants at home. The age requirement for purchasing and consuming cannabis — as well as pursuing a cannabis business license — will be set at 18. Medical cannabis in Mexico will be regulated separately by the Ministry of Health.
“Today we are in a historic moment. With this, the false belief that cannabis is part of Mexico’s serious public health problems is left behind.” — Chamber of Deputies member Simey Olvera, via The Times
Mexico’s Senate approved an early version of the legalization bill last November. The legalization process is finally coming to a head two years after the Mexican Supreme Court ruled that cannabis prohibition was unconstitutional — that ruling’s deadline for legalizing (currently set for April) has been repeatedly pushed back due to the coronavirus and other complications.
Notably, a November poll found the move was not exceedingly popular among Mexico’s residents, with 58% of respondents saying they oppose legalizing cannabis, according to the report. Even cannabis advocates have criticized the government’s plan for not doing enough in terms of social equity and in removing some of the stigmas around cannabis — home growers, for example, will be required to register with the government.
A January Headset report found that Mexicos’ legal cannabis market could be worth over $840 million.
Once Mexico’s legalization law takes effect, the United States will be the last holdout for cannabis prohibition in North America.
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