Mexico turned a bunch of heads this week with the news that, finally, recreational cannabis is being seriously considered. The House supports it, and the president is expected to sign it into a law. Now, the country has also announced what the cannabis regulations will be if it passes.
While the bill still has to make it through the Senate, it is expected to pass, as the MORENA party, who are pro-cannabis, also control the Senate.
“One of the most important aspects is that the National Commission Against Addictions will have the mandate of the regulation of the industry,” Jorge Rubio Escalona, local industry insider and Nabbis Group Co-Founder, explained about the new regulations. “The Ministry of Agriculture will regulate seeds, hemp and growth planning.”
The Fine Details
Additionally, the new regulations state that the National Seed Agency will regulate all seeds, which will be allowed for personal grows, collective grows, retail, research, and a separate category for hemp. Collective grows will consist of two to 20 people with a limit of 50 plants per group, and no option for reselling.
The rulings also lay out how labeling and branding will work, as well as how packaging can be recycled, and it lays out rules for manufacturing, producing, and commercializing hemp. There will be licenses available for production, sale, distribution, extraction, research, and even vertical integration. In order to grant these licenses, there will be a Competence Commission that looks at oversaturated areas of the market, as well as the Ministry of Agriculture, who will define grows as either indoor or outdoor.
There are also rules in place for how cannabis marketing and advertising will work if a legal industry is established. For now, it prohibits mail and phone selling of cannabis as well as vending machines.
As the bill continues through the judicial process, these rules will be considered and amended as necessary.
“The next step is to send the Law to the Senate Chamber; they will accept the changes done in the Deputies Chamber and send the Law to the Presidential Office to wait to be signed and published in the National Official Gazette,” Escalona explained. “After that, the most important process is the creation of the Bylaw which is the implementation details and deadlines. They expect to start the permits and licenses process till 2022.”
While overall, advocates remain hopeful, there is still some resistance from those who are concerned about the cannabis industry and what that will mean for Mexico.
“Most of the legislative interventions focused on serious concerns for harm reduction for youth and children,” Escalona said. “Some political groups voted against the Law to protect young people for cannabis consumption. Another concern was the mandate to the National Addictions Prevention Commission, which is not a regulatory body, with no experience in granting licenses, budget and administrative people to regulate and enforce.”
However, he thinks that as long as there is education, this can be changed.
“Mexican society has a huge stigma with cannabis because it was related to drug cartels and crime,” he continued. “The lack of education makes families and parents afraid of cannabis consumption, so it will be a challenge to make information campaigns about the plant. The good news is to decriminalize some possession and consumption.”