What's Next in the Cannabis Release Process?
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By: Hugo Álvarez Partner-Founder of Canncura
We are about to witness what appears to be the end of the approval process for the Federal Law for the Regulation of Cannabis in Mexico.
As a context, I must remind you of where we stand; On the one hand, today in our country, medical cannabis is already legal and there are finally rules, they were published only on January 12 of this year.
However, before claiming victory, it is necessary to read "the fine print" of these regulations. Under this logic, the concept of medical cannabis is strictly considered for the research, commercialization and production of pharmaceutical products (medicines) or magisterial formulas that have validated their effectiveness through the formal scientific way, in addition to the fact that a doctor will always be needed. to generate a recipe. This means that the level of requirements for any part of the supply chain will be equivalent to what the pharmaceutical industry is used to today when dealing with controlled substances, and not how it works in the United States or Canada where, under the concept of medicinal cannabis , You can access both drugs, such as the flower, or any other type of product, as long as the purpose is endorsed by a doctor. This can definitely have a direct effect on patients, the start-up time of the medicinal market, the type of products to which they will have access and the equality of possibilities for all those interested in obtaining authorizations.
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On the other hand, after three extensions, the process of legalization of adult or recreational use, industrial use and that of research was finally approved by the Senate of the Republic, however, the Chamber of Deputies still needs to approve it. After this journey through Congress, only the approval of the Executive Power and its publication in the Official Gazette of the Federation (DOF) would remain.
As a result of the last extension granted in December 2020 by the SCJN, the Legislative Power has until April 30, 2021 to approve the project. It is rumored that the opinion will be ready in the first days of March and that it will be approved that same fortnight. If the opinion undergoes modifications, with respect to the minute sent by the Senate, after its approval by deputies, the bill will have to go back to the upper house for the senators to ratify the changes.
There are multiple factors that can directly or indirectly affect this happening, such as COVID, which on two occasions served as a pretext for a postponement, although today it no longer seems to be so threatening since it was approved that if necessary , voting can be carried out remotely . Also an important factor are the midterm elections where the seats of Congress, some governorships, municipalities and mayors are renewed. Another factor to take into account are the demonstrations by some United States senators in favor of taking up the issue of the federal legalization of cannabis from our northern neighbors.
A few weeks ago when replacing the President in the morning, the Secretary of the Interior, Olga Sanchez Cordero, responded to a journalist saying that there is the intention that the reform be approved in this regular period of sessions, as does the president of the Chamber of Commerce. Deputies, who mentioned that it is within the legislative agenda to comply with the mandate of the court.
It is clear that we are very close to becoming the third country in the world to legalize all uses of cannabis , however, there are still probabilities that the bill will undergo some changes in form and not in substance, some of the rumors revolve around the probable suppression of the bill of the Mexican Institute for the Regulation and Control of Cannabis, something that sounds more in line with the style of Q4. This could have positive effects, mainly because there are already institutions that can carry out all the functions necessary for regulation to function properly; In this case, the sad side of the coin is that these institutions today are at their peak and their processes are extremely slow.
In conclusion, while we are getting closer to the legalization of cannabis, there are still probable delay scenarios. Even if this happens before April 30, it does not mean that on day 01 we will have dispensaries with products, since the implementation process will surely last more than a year.