Deadline for Marijuana Legalization in Mexico Pushed to April 2020

Mexican lawmakers missed the initial deadline for marijuana legalization, but courts obliged their request of extension.

The Mexican Supreme Court this week approved its Congress’ request for a deadline extension to legalize adult use marijuana. Mexico’s highest court had initially mandated that lawmakers pass marijuana legalization legislation by October 31.

The judicial body granted the lawmakers’ request for an extension, and the legislature now has until April 30, 2020 to approve their reform bill.

Mexico had appeared poised to legalize recreational marijuana last month. The leaders of the Health, Justice, Public Security, and Legislative Studies Committees had been coordinating to pass their respective provisions over which they have jurisdiction.

While a legalization bill had been prepared for debate, lobbying from corporations prompted lawmakers to reevaluate their bill before moving forward. As in the United States, large companies with former well-known elected officials are already preparing to move to the front of the line for a license. Lawmakers have become worried about the industry becoming monopolized by multinational cannabis corporations.

Additionally, lawmakers were still debating regulations and unable to send the proposal to the full Senate in time to meet the Supreme Court’s original deadline.

Lawmakers submitted their request for an extension on Oct. 29. The court quickly granted that request on the same day.

Many Moving Parts

Mexico’s pending marijuana legalization bill will affect many other parts of Mexico’s judicial system.

The bill stipulates that only 20 percent of investment in a company may come from foreign sources. Additionally, companies seeking to operate in disadvantaged communities are prioritized in the licensing process.

The pending bill allows those 18 and older the right to consume cannabis purchased from licensed retailers in a private space and to grow up to four plants. It also creates “associations” which “are non-profit entities with the sole purpose of satisfying the needs of its members regarding the personal use of cannabis and its derivatives.”

However, the proposed bill only allows for marijuana edibles and infused beverages for medical patients.

The packaging of products is strictly regulated under the current proposal, requiring that packaging appears plain, is made from environmentally-friendly material, and is childproof. The Mexican Cannabis Institute would regulate the nation’s cannabis industry.

Mexican lawmakers took the unusual step of making the language of the bill public before it was passed to allow for input.

“There might be some aspects that haven’t been fully understood, or that we haven’t been able to explain well. Whatever may need to be corrected, will be corrected,” said Senator Julio Menchaca, the head of the Judiciary Committee who introduced the bill.

The part in the bill about limiting foreign sources has led some Multi-State Operators (MSOs) to enter into partnerships with local companies to make the most of the pending reform in a market expected to be twice the size of Canada.

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