After 3-year delay, medical cannabis will be legal in Mexico

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Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

Cannabis proponents in Mexico are thrilled to hear that the Mexican government has finally issued regulations on its three-year-old medical cannabis program. This news comes four years after a mandate was issued by former Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. 

Since it was not accompanied by any regulations back in 2017, Nieto’s legislative push had previously struggled to gain momentum. Then, in 2019, the Mexican Supreme Court mandated that the Regulatory Agencies develop a firm set of rules pertaining to medical cannabis. 

It should be noted that the newly-issued cannabis regulations are separate from the adult-use legislation that is currently being contemplated in the lower house the Mexican Chamber of Deputies. An April 2021 deadline for recreational cannabis legislation remains in place.

An overview of Mexico’s medical cannabis rules 

While Mexico’s medical cannabis regulations might be three years past the initial deadline, reports suggest that they are to-the-point; something that industry players have been hoping for. The main goal is to establish the groundwork for cultivators who are interested in growing the plant for research and/or the manufacturing of pharmaceutical/pharmacological products.

Mexicans who require permits to legally cultivate medical cannabis must first register with the National Service for Agrifood Health and Quality (SENASA) an organization responsible for compiling a registry of medical cannabis cultivators in Mexico. Both public and private researchers will be allowed to conduct experiments into cannabis, which should be grown in accordance with satisfactory quality control measures and good manufacturing practices (GMP).

Furthermore, doctors in Mexico who are interested in practicing cannabis-related medicine must first register with the Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risk (COFEPRIS). Pharmacies will be provided with cannabis medicines, which can then be prescribed and sold to patients.

Mexico’s medical cannabis rules also stipulate that countrywide travel will be permitted by citizens and foreigners who qualify as patients; the legalization of medical cannabis in Mexico is likely to trigger a wave of tourism. Import and export rules have also been outlined in the recently-issued regulations.

What about adult-use cannabis in Mexico?

In regards to the adult-use cannabis and industrial hemp measures that have also been introduced in Mexico, a Supreme Court mandate has confirmed that the legislature must proceed to finalize laws no later than the second quarter of 2021. Specifically, Mexico’s adult-use cannabis and industrial hemp measures must be enacted before the midterm elections commence this summer.

When Mexico’s recreational cannabis rules are eventually imposed, the largest legal cannabis market on the planet will begin to emerge. In the event that the North American country does introduce a fully legal cannabis market, it would become the third country on the planet to do so. However, provisions that would make it compulsory for industry players to implement stringent seed-to-sale tracking protocols could potentially hinder the market’s progress.

President Lopez Obrador has, so far, remained fairly quiet in regards to his cannabis legislation views/plans. The legislation continues to be written and debated.