Mexico Inches Closer to Legalizing Recreational Marijuana as December 15 Deadline Approaches

Locke Lord LLP

Yesterday, Mexico’s Senate approved a bill that moves it closer to becoming the third country to legalize recreational cannabis. While the bill still needs to be approved by the Chamber of Deputies before it goes to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s desk, there is renewed optimism that the three-year-old legalization process may soon be completed.

The bill allows those 18 years old and older to buy and possess up to 28 grams of marijuana and to grow up to six plants for personal use. The bill also establishes a legal retail market that, as a result of a late-added amendment, allows all license holders to be vertically integrated. Further, the bill requires that certain criminal records related to cannabis convictions are cleared within six months.

Lawmakers legalized cannabis for medical use in 2017 in connection with reform of its health and criminal laws, and the Mexican Supreme Court ruled a year later that the prohibition on possessing and growing cannabis was unconstitutional. The Mexican Congress was supposed to rewrite the nation’s drug laws within 90 days of that ruling, but has struggled to do so, necessitating several extensions. The current deadline is December 15, 2020, which might be realistic given the development yesterday.

It will be interesting to see whether these recent efforts will finally be enough to officially legalize cannabis in Mexico. If it does, it will also be exciting to see how it plays out and the effect it might have on legalization efforts at the state and federal level in the United States. Please visit our blog for updates on the cannabis industry.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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