After 3-year delay, medical marijuana will be legal as of Wednesday

The government has published regulations for its production, research and use

More than three years after Congress approved the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, it will finally become legal on Wednesday.

President López Obrador on Tuesday published regulations for the production, research and use of medicinal marijuana.

The Congress-approved reform to legalize medicinal marijuana was originally published in June 2017 but not promulgated, although then president Enrique Peña Nieto was supposed to sign off on the law within 180 days.

It wasn’t until July 2020 that a regulatory framework developed by the federal Health Ministry was put out for public consultation, paving the way for its implementation.

Published in the federal government’s official gazette, the new regulations authorize the government to oversee the production of marijuana for research and medicinal purposes. Companies growing medicinal marijuana and/or using the plant to manufacture medications must be authorized by the health regulator Cofepris.

The regulations allow pharmacies to supply cannabis-based medicines to authorized patients in possession of prescriptions. Drugstores will be required to maintain a registry of people with approval to purchase them.

In addition, the regulatory framework permits the importation to Mexico of seeds, cannabis derivatives to be used in medicinal products and processed marijuana-based medications.

The rules published today apply exclusively to the medicinal marijuana sector. A bill legalizing the recreational use of marijuana was passed by the Senate in November but the Chamber of Deputies has not yet debated it and put it to a vote.

The Supreme Court in December granted an extension to the lower house of Congress to debate the recreational use of marijuana after lawmakers requested one on the grounds that the bill was complex and time was limited.

The court ruled in 2019 that laws prohibiting the use of marijuana are unconstitutional. The Chamber of Deputies will have until the end of their first 2021 sitting period in late April to make the recreational use of marijuana legal, as ordered by the court.

Source: Reforma (sp) 

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