Mexican lawmakers will hash out the details of a marijuana regulation bill during the upcoming summer recess, with the goal of passing the legislation ahead of an October 2018 deadline, a key committee leader said.
After the Supreme Court deemed the country’s ban on cannabis consumption, possession and personal cultivation unconstitutional last year, the Senate was charged with amending the lawto reflect that ruling.
Julio Ramón Menchaca Salazar, head of the Senate Justice Committee, said that the body would “take advantage of the recess period” to finalize the legislation, according to a newsletter posted on the Senate website on Sunday.
The recess begins on May 1 and lasts until August 31, giving lawmakers several months to develop a regulatory plan for cannabis before the Supreme Court’s October deadline. The Senate released a report in February instructing lawmakers to consider various aspects of legalization as they write the marijuana bill.
Salazar has already met with the nation’s attorney general to discuss the move, the Senate newsletter said.
Legalization legislation has already been introduced in the legislature, including a bill from Olga Sanchez Cordero, who as a senator filed a proposal last year to allow adults 18 and older to possess, consume and cultivate cannabis. But as of yet, it’s not clear what bill the Senate will move to advance.
“Canada already decriminalized, and [marijuana is] decriminalized in several states of the United States. What are we thinking?” Sánchez Cordero, who is now Mexico’s interior minister, said at the time. “We are going to try to move forward.”
The Senate’s Health Commission held a hearing on marijuana reform earlier this month, with policy experts and lawmakers testifying about the prospect of a regulated marijuana market.
“By regulating cannabis, Mexico will be able to better shape how cannabis is produced, distributed, and consumed, and therefore protect public health,” Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, said in a press release. “Mexico will also demonstrate regional leadership, and take an important step toward reforming the misguided policies that have caused such devastating harm in recent decades.”