MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – On a day classified as “historic” by Mexican lawmakers, the Senate yesterday approved the legalization of marijuana for recreational, scientific, medical and industrial use, which could create the world’s largest cannabis market.
Now, the “General law for the regularization of cannabis” must pass through the Chamber of Deputies and must be approved before the end of the legislature, on December 15.
The Morena (Movimiento Regeneración Nacional), of the government, and allies have a majority in both houses.
The initiative proposed by the Morena movement includes, among other measures, the creation of the Mexican Institute of Regulation and Control of Cannabis.
The new agency will issue five types of licenses to control issues related to the cultivation, processing, sale, research and export and import of marijuana.
The law, approved by 82 votes in favor, 18 against and 7 abstentions, proposes to seek to “improve the living conditions” of Mexicans and “contribute to the reduction of the criminal incidence linked to drug trafficking”.
“The time has finally come for a vital issue for the country’s development,” said independent senator Emilio Álvarez Icaza during a speech. “It is a topic that we should have discussed many years ago.”
Since taking office in December 2018, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has put the issue of decriminalization of marijuana and other drugs on the table as part of his strategy to combat powerful organized crime.
The law stipulates that only people over the age of 18 will be able to grow, transport and consume marijuana and its derivatives, provided they have a license from the Mexican Cannabis Regulation and Control Institute. In addition, possession of 28 grams of marijuana will be allowed, but psychoactive use is prohibited in public or private work areas.
Regarding marketing, the legislation “allows people and companies to sell to adults in authorized stores”. The institute will establish maximum levels of THC (psychoactive substance in marijuana) and CBD (cannabidiol).