Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Health agency seizes products from CDMX cannabis shops

The federal government’s health regulator has seized over 1,800 cannabis products from a chain of stores in which former president Vicente Fox has a financial interest. 

The Federal Commission for the Protection against Health Risks (Cofepris) said Monday that it had confiscated 1,811 products containing CBD (cannabidiol), hemp seeds and “extracts of cannabis and other substances” from four Paradise stores in Mexico City. 

Vicente Fox's marijuana
“Open your franchise,” trumpet billboards showing former president Vicente Fox, a spokesman for Paradise stores selling marijuana-derived products. (Archive)

The regulator said that the seized products lacked “evidence of safety, quality or place of manufacture.” 

The products were removed from stores in the Nápoles, Polanco, Santa Catarina and Historic Center neighborhoods of Mexico City. The Nápoles outlet was shut down because it hadn’t obtained approval to operate from local authorities.

Cofepris officials visited two other Paradise stores in the capital, but one was closed and no products were seized from the other.

The regulator said that the purpose of its inspections was to avoid the sale of “prohibited products” with misleading labeling and products that don’t comply with health regulations.

World Cannabis Day Mexico City 2022
Protesters, seen here outside the Senate in April 2022, called on lawmakers to vote on the legalization of marijuana as the lower house of Congress did in March 2021. (Archive)

The overriding objective is to avoid such products placing the health of purchasers and other people at risk, Cofepris said.

It also said that it took 165 “samples of labels of different products” because they had a range of “irregularities in the information” they contained.

In addition, Cofepris said that it was carrying out “monitoring and legal actions” of companies that received authorization to sell products derived from cannabis “in the final days of the previous federal administration.”

President López Obrador said earlier this year that five days before the end of the 2012–18 government of former president Enrique Peña Nieto, Cofepris granted 63 permits to “commercialize products derived from cannabis,” with some being awarded to companies linked to the family of ex-president Vicente Fox, who is reportedly a part owner of the Paradise chain.

Cofepris official Bertha María Alcalde said that actions had been taken against officials who issued “irregular authorizations” with “surprising speed” in the final days of Peña Nieto’s government. Fox denied being granted any such permits.

Paradise, which also sells products such as bongs, pipes, marijuana grinders and papers, has stores in 25 of Mexico’s 32 federal entities, according to Cofepris.

The chain appears to be well-placed to sell marijuana buds once the recreational use of the drug is legalized.

The Supreme Court ruled in 2019 that prohibition of marijuana is unconstitutional because criminalization violates the right to free development of personality. It has directed Congress to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes, but lawmakers have repeatedly missed deadlines to do so.

Mexico News Daily 

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