HempMeds has opened its first office in Mexico as the market opens up. HempMeds has opened its first office in Mexico as the market opens up.

In six months, market for medical marijuana

Regulations being drawn up to allow import and sale of cannabis-based products

A domestic market for medical marijuana will begin operating in Mexico by the end of the year, a federal agency predicts.

The Federal Commission for Protection Against Health Risks (Cofepris) announced yesterday that that market is scheduled to open in six months, allowing businesses to import and sell cannabis-based products.

With the reforms to the General Health Law and the elimination of cannabis prohibition, patients that require such products are now free to import them, said Cofepris chief Julio Sánchez y Tépoz.

“At the moment there are 243 individual [import] applications by patients,” he explained.

One of those is nine-year-old Graciela Elizalde Benavides, from Monterrey, Nuevo León, who suffers from a type of epilepsy that provokes up to 400 seizures a day, leaving the child weak and sleepy. Despite her age, she doesn’t speak nor does she have the ability to move spontaneously and actively.

After trying several treatments, Graciela’s parents found a last option in cannabidiol, or CBD, an oil extracted from cannabis. Research showed that treatment using the oil could prove successful in alleviating the girl’s violent epileptic episodes.

The girl’s case was one of the first to bring marijuana’s legalization in any form to the forefront over a year and a half ago.

Sánchez observed that in six months firms will be able to import and sell medical marijuana products in Mexican pharmacies, putting them within reach of consumers and reducing their cost.

During the intervening six months the federal Health Secretariat will prepare regulations for the therapeutical use of cannabis.

Growing marijuana plants is to be considered in those regulations, said Sánchez, but only for those interested in scientific research and not for commercializing cannabis byproducts.

Mexico approved marijuana use for medical and scientific purposes in April, which has prompted a United States-based firm to open an office in the country. HempMeds, which produces cannabis-based products, officially inaugurated its office in Monterrey, Nuevo León, today.

The market for medical marijuana in Mexico has been estimated to be worth as much as US $5 billion, Forbes reported today.

Source: El Universal (sp), Forbes (sp)

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