Mexico Scrambles to Legalize Recreational Cannabis by Court-Imposed Deadline
Time is running out on Mexico's cannabis ban
Time is running out on Mexico’s cannabis ban.
With less than a month remaining to abide by a Supreme Court-ordered deadline to legalize recreational cannabis, the country’s congress is mulling 10 proposed laws that would make them just the third country in the world—behind Uruguay and Canada—to legalize adult use.
But a controversial proposal introduced early this month has stakeholders worried the government will try to maintain the status quo for as long as possible, despite the court ruling earlier this year that banning cannabis is illegal.
“If the Senate approves this bill, it would buy time and get rid of the pressure from of the Supreme Court, but it would not change that much from the current situation, because it would only instruct the health ministry to give permits for self-consumption,” said José Trinidad Murillo, director of public affairs of Mexican-based Canncura Pharma, a company specializing in cannabis research and technology.
“Everything else would remain as it is today; that is, people, patients and businesses waiting for a proper set of rules regarding cannabis,” Murillo said.
And because this bill was submitted to congress by the legislative bodies in charge of drafting the final law itself, Murillo said he fears it will be used as an insurance plan in case the debate around cannabis gets too polarized. “This way, the parliament would comply with the Supreme Court and wait for a better political moment for a more complete regulation,” he said.
But with nine different bills under consideration—including one offering a more comprehensive cannabis framework—lawyer Luis Armendáriz said there was no reason to panic. “There are signs that this is the bill that’s being given priority,” Armendáriz said.
Mexico must act on one of the bills by Oct. 24.