Federal permits allowing the cultivation of marijuana for medicinal purposes have been assigned to 26 indigenous communities in Oaxaca.
Issued by health regulator Cofepris, the permits also allow the communities to process the plant into different medicinal forms.
The Oaxaca Association of Indigenous Cannabis Producers (AIPCO) presented the permits at an event in Oaxaca city on Wednesday morning.
Among the recipients were the towns of Santa Cruz Papalutla, San Juan Chilateca, San Pablo Huixtepec, San Dionisio Ocotepec, San Nicolás Yaxe, El Tepehuaje and Coatecas Altas.
The use of marijuana for medicinal purposes has been legal in Mexico since 2017. The Supreme Court has directed Congress to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes, but it has repeatedly missed deadlines to do so.
@horaciososaoax ¡Día histórico en #Oaxaca!26 organizaciones sociales de distintas comunidades indígenas reciben este día autorizaciones sanitarias de la COFEPRIS para manejo, selección y cultivo del #Cannabis ♬ Jarabe del Valle – La Guelaguetza
AIPCO president Roberto Carlos Cruz Gómez described the issuing of the permits as an historical event. They were issued after an arduous process that lasted for years, he said.
Cruz said that the 26 communities will grow plants that have a high cannabidiol, or CBD content. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, CBD is not psychoactive. Among a wide range of CBD products are oils and gummies.
Cruz said that cannabis derivatives could be made available via the Oaxaca Health Ministry if a production and commercialization bill becomes a state law.
Daniel Ramírez López of agri-food consultancy firm COAGRO said that the issuing of permits to the Oaxaca communities will allow the cannabis industry to begin to develop in Mexico.
Cannabis has always been vilified in Mexico, he said before noting that the marijuana industry is very lucrative in U.S. states where use of the plant is legal.
Once recreational use is approved, Mexico will become the world’s largest legal marijuana market. One person already cashing in on the CBD and marijuana paraphernalia market is former president Vicente Fox, who is a part owner of a chain of cannabis stores.