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Mexico Moves One Step Closer To Legalizing Cannabis

The Senate sets the rules for initial discussion of adult-use legalization.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

This article first appeared in Entrepreneur en Español

Jorge Alberto Mendoza Mariscal | Getty Images

The United Commissions of Justice, Health and Legislative Studies of the Senate of Mexico approved a set of rules for the discussion of the legalization of the recreational use of marijuana by people over 18 years in the country. 

"What happened yesterday is that we passed from a ‘pre-ruling ' of sorts to a real set of rules around the discussion of the matter," explains Erick Ponce, president of the Cannabis Industry Promoter Group in an interview with Entrepreneur en Español. “This means that Mexico has just taken a big step around what would be the legalization of cannabis for all uses."

Related: President Vicente Fox Wants To Legalize Cannabis

The previously appointed commissions reached a consensus on how Mexico will address the issue of cannabis legalization. According to Ponce, the Mexican Senate's decision to define the guidelines of the cannabis discussion is historic, and something that has been unheard of in the last 20 years. Within this set of rules, the Senate opted to: 

  • Attend the mandate to the Mexican Supreme Court of Justice that determined "respect for the free development of personality". This means that the government does not have a prohibitionist attitude towards personal consumption of any substance.
  • Establish a set of rules in which production and commercialization will be regulated to make Mexico a real potential commercial leader of the marijuana industry, both nationally and internationally.

This decision by the Mexican Senate calls for the creation of the Law for the Regulation of Cannabis, which will propose a legal framework for the recreational use of both personal and shared marijuana for adults, its commercial use with recreational ends, as well as for medical, palliative, industrial or pharmaceutical research.

According to this report, people would have permission to own up to four cannabis plants in their homes and could carry up to 28 grams for personal use without being arrested. It also prohibits the consumption by minors and the use of children and adolescents in commercial activities related to the plant with a penalty of up to 3.4 million pesos (USD$171,841). 

Related: Mexico's Proposed Law To Federally Legalize Marijuana Aims At Cutting Out Drug-Related Crime

The law will also mandate the creation of the Mexican Cannabis Institute, an agency that will be in charge of coordinating the dependencies and entities of the Federal Public Administration, contributing with the competent health authorities for the different permitted activities the control of marijuana and its derivatives.

"The law can always be perfected, but we as a group are betting on the elimination of prohibitionist vision if lawmakers are looking at the issue from a health and scientific perspective based on evidence," explains Ponce.

World leadership

According to Ponce, Mexico has the potential to become a leader in the "cannabusiness", since the nation has the "perfect climate" for growing the plant and has the optimum geographical position just south of the world's largest consumer of marijuana.

"Mexico has the potential to become a leader of the production and manufacturing of cannabis-based goods," he says.

However, Ponce believes that the country will first grow exponentially in the medical marijuana field because the scientific research branch is set up so that Mexico becomes first and foremost a producer of cannabis-based medicines.

“In the same way, we recommend that entrepreneurs who want to enter this business to study a lot about the subject to avoid the noise or distortion that exists around it cannabusiness in México. We urge them to look for reputable associations or that have a proven scientific support of universities that are promoting research or groups that share real and verified information”.