This Tuesday, Mexico quietly passed and published rules that would regulate medical cannabis, setting up Mexico for a nation-wide cannabis industry, and taking another step towards overall cannabis reform in a nation that has been under the spotlight for a long time when it comes to cannabis regulation.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador officially signed into law the new legislation, which allows pharmaceutical companies within the country to officially do research on cannabis for medicinal purposes. Additionally, it also allows for testing of cannabis for recreational purposes, which will eventually lead to the world’s largest national cannabis market. But for now, only the medical rules have a practical application, as only the medical industry has been completely established.
This distinction is important, because currently, Mexican lawmakers are in the homestretch of legalization, working on a bill that is expected to pass during this legislative session in Congress, making recreational cannabis a reality within 2021. Since legislators are pretty sure it will pass, and are actively working on it, rules are being drafted for a recreational market as well, but for now, only the medical rules have been published and can actually be put to use.
Companies hoping to take part in the new industry and do research to develop their products must reach out to COFEPRIS, the Mexican health regulator, in order to obtain permission. All laboratories must be independently run and strictly controlled to ensure proper results.
“The standard of regulation is very, very high,” said lawyer and pro-cannabis activist Luisa Conesa regarding the new regulations for those hoping to gain entry to the Mexican cannabis industry. “(The regulation) is not aimed at patients growing their own cannabis, it is aimed at pharmaceutical companies producing pharmaceutical derivatives of cannabis which are classified as controlled substances that need prescription.”
In addition, further down the line, the regulation lays the groundwork for the planting, harvesting, and cultivation of cannabis for medical purposes only. Now, for the first time since it was initially outlawed, medical cannabis can legally be grown within Mexican borders. Some imports will still be allowed for companies looking to create certain products, but no exports will be legally happening. For now, at least, Mexican cannabis will be grown in Mexico and then must legally stay in the country.
Paving The Way For A Comprehensive Cannabis Market
Regardless of that fact, the United States and Canada still have their eyes on Mexico, as legal cannabis companies look for ways they can potentially expand their market and grow their businesses. Now, the future of medical and recreational cannabis has finally been revealed to all those who have a vested interest.
This is a huge milestone for the country, as Mexico has had to deal with both internal violence from drug cartels fighting it out over an illicit market, as well as backlash from the U.S. about drug imports from illegal cartels and other parties. This is the first step into a fully legal cannabis industry in Mexico, something that is exciting to the entire cannabis world.