Monday, June 17, 2024

Senator: pot could be legal by end of month, but no state company will sell it

A proposal to create a state-owned company to control the sale and distribution of marijuana in a regulated market appears to have no chance of succeeding: neither President López Obrador nor the ruling party’s leader in the Senate have offered support for the idea.

Mario Delgado, leader of the Morena party in the lower house of Congress, presented a bill on Tuesday that proposed that a state company called Cannsalud would have exclusive authority to purchase marijuana from legal producers and sell it to both authorized franchisees – who would supply the recreational retail market – and pharmaceutical companies.

On Wednesday, he clarified that his draft General Law for the Control of Cannabis was a purely personal proposal that doesn’t have the backing of the president and other Morena lawmakers.

The deputy rejected claims made on social media that his bill, which would also allow adults to grow up to six cannabis plants for personal use, would turn Mexico into a narco-state.

Delgado explained that under his proposal, 25% of marijuana sales profits would go to the implementation of social programs in communities where authorities have eradicated illegal cannabis crops and 20% would be spent on the detection and treatment of drug addiction.

But Morena Senate leader Ricardo Monreal poured cold water on Delgado’s state pot company, declaring that there should be a regulated market for marijuana but not one in which the government has a monopoly.

He also said that the Senate has nearly completed its own bill for the legalization and regulation of marijuana.

“. . . We’re very close to having a draft marijuana law,” Monreal said, adding that he will seek input from Delgado and other lower house lawmakers.

The Senate is looking at 12 different proposals on legalization and regulation that were discussed at recent open Senate sessions, the senator said.

“. . . If the Chamber of Deputies proposal is added, that’s 13. The idea is to try to make the best law possible. We’ve spent hours and hours debating this issue in the Senate and we’re going to respectfully invite [deputies] so that they join us in the next debates,” Monreal said.

The senator predicted that marijuana will be legalized by the end of the month and said that he was open to other aspects of Delgado’s bill being included in the final draft voted on by lawmakers.

“. . . We’re thinking that we’ll bring the law out, approve it, at the end of October. That’s the schedule we have. I’ll speak personally [to Delgado] so that the proposals contained in the initiative presented yesterday [Tuesday] can be considered here [in the Senate] . . .”

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

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