Will Mexico Legalize Cannabis In 2021?

by Robert Hoban

FORBES (December 27, 2020).- This month, I visited Mexico City in an effort to bolster momentum toward the passage of the groundbreaking Senate bill concerning cannabis legalization in the United Mexican States. 

In November, the Senate cannabis bill was passed and moved to the lower chamber, the Mexican Chamber of Deputies (Cámara de Diputados), akin to the U.S. House of RepresentativesThe Chamber of Deputies has to consider the legislation and take action before the end of April 2021, a deadline recently extended by the Mexican Supreme Court.

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MEXICO CITY, MEXICO – NOVEMBER 10: A man wearing a face mask sells flags that read “Legalize it” as … [+] GETTY IMAGES

There’s a rule about how many times changes may be accepted and/or rejected and/or proposed before conclusive legislation can be enacted. This is further compounded by midterm elections in Mexico that will take place in the summer of 2021.

This Spring many legislators, particularly in the lower house which is made up of 500 legislators, will be shifting their focus to campaigning in their jurisdictions. If the cannabis bill isn’t finalized by the end of the first quarter or early second quarter, it may not move forward at all in 2021. 

Currently, the Chamber of Deputies is examining the language, terms, conditions, and scope of the comprehensive bill passed by the Senate. This includes language relating to the export of “psychoactive” cannabis flower above the THC threshold of 1% and “non-psychoactive” cáñamo or industrial hemp. The legislation also addresses the indigenous populations and putting a policy and plan into action so that local farmers can participate in this emerging global industry.

Based on my meetings with those in the Chamber of Deputies, they’ve been paying close attention to developments in the Mexican Senate. They’re examining a number of issues the Senate independently studied over the last year, including the impact of cannabis legalization on society, children and teenagers, taxation, ownership, and control related issues, and trends from a public health standpoint. Partner of CAAM legal and Hoban Law Group International Attorney, Luis Armendáriz remarks, “It’s important that the Chamber of Deputies does not let the momentum gained with the Senate approval fade away. We’re crossing our fingers that the consensus reached to approve the bill last November will continue and a positive vote is issued before midterm elections, when legislators or political parties may start thinking about any political cost of legalizing the plant.”

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