Mexico’s Senate on Thursday approved a cannabis legalization measure, sending it next to the lower house of Congress, Reuters reports. The vote comes two years after the nation’s Supreme Court ruled that cannabis prohibition was unconstitutional.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has not publicly supported the reforms before the Legislature but indicated during his campaign that he was open to broad cannabis decriminalization and other drug law-related reforms.
The bill allows personal possession up to 28 grams, home cultivation up to four plants, and taxed-and-regulated sales provided the product meets THC caps. According to the bill text, the reforms would “improve living conditions” and “contribute to the reduction of crime linked to drug trafficking.”
If approved, Mexico would be the third nation to legalize cannabis, following Uruguay and Canada, but the market would be the world’s largest by population.
The Senate has been working on the legalization issue since the 2018 Supreme Court ruling and the high court has extended the deadline for the reforms several times; the current deadline is December 15.
The measure does include social equity protections, including provisions requiring at least 40 percent of industry licenses to be awarded to indigenous, low-income, or historically marginalized communities for the first five years.
Public consumption would be permitted but not in places where tobacco use is banned or where people under 18-years-old could be exposed. Driving under the influence of cannabis would be outlawed.
The measure was approved 82 to 18 with seven abstentions.
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