The leader of the ruling Morena party in the lower house of Congress presented a bill on Tuesday that proposes the creation of a state-owned company to control marijuana sales in a regulated market.
The draft General Law for the Control of Cannabis presented by Mario Delgado also proposes the legalization of the cultivation of marijuana for personal use.
Under Delgado’s bill, a state company called Cannsalud (a portmanteau of cannabis and health) would have the 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.
“This way the cannabis market wouldn’t be left to the autonomous regulation by individuals but would involve the state as a permanent supervisor and controller of activity involving this substance within a legal framework that would guarantee benefits for all,” the bill says.
The proposal seeks to prevent large companies from dominating a potentially lucrative legal marijuana market.
A state-owned company would be able to “contain the risks inherent in the establishment of a new market,” the bill states, whereas large companies would “seek to maximize their profits” without regard for the protection of people’s health.
The proposed law also states that adult citizens would be able to grow up to six cannabis plants “without the need for a license or permission as long as they are destined for personal use . . . in the home.”
Morena leads a majority in both houses of Congress, meaning that approval of Delgado’s bill would appear likely but the news agency Bloomberg noted that it is unclear whether President López Obrador would support a state company controlling the legal marijuana trade.
However, the president does generally support greater government presence in the economy.
Congress’s move towards the legalization and regulation of marijuana for recreational purposes follows the publication by the Supreme Court in February of eight precedents on its recreational use, which determined that prohibition of the drug is unconstitutional.