Starting early this year, Mexico will legalize the sales of cannabis-based medicines, food, drinks, and cosmetics. Mexico’s health department announced that it was drafting regulations allowing the sales of cannabis-based products and that the formal guidelines will be made public in the next several days.
Arturo Tornel, the spokesperson for Cofepris or The Federal Commission for the Protection Against Sanitary Risk, pointed out that the government still won’t allow the sale of pure cannabis flower. Moreover, Mexican cannabis businesses are not allowed to cultivate their own cannabis plants.
This means that Cofepris is expecting retailers and distributors of cannabis-based products to import their items from other countries, although there will be some Mexican firms that may be eventually allowed to create their own cannabis-based products – but still using cannabis grown abroad.
As soon as the guidelines are released to the public, these companies may start importing approved products. They will be allowed to sell these products in the Mexican market thereafter. The sales of these cannabis-based products is expected to begin as early as this month.
It can be recalled that in June last year, the country passed a bill that would legalize cannabis for scientific and medical purposes. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto signed a bill signed a legislation legalizing medical marijuana and marijuana-related research, as well as classifying its psychoactive ingredient THC as therapeutic. The bill, however, stipulates that only cannabis products containing up to 1 per cent of THC are permitted by law.
The new law also authorizes the Ministry of Health to create and implement new regulations that pertain to the use of cannabis, as well as new guidelines on national research and production. The ministry, however, is also required to study marijuana’s therapeutic effects before it could create the framework for the country’s medical marijuana program.
Until the new regulations on the sale of cannabis-based products are announced, it remains unclear whether the products allowed will be limited only to those containing CBD or cannabidiol (the non-psychoactive ingredient of cannabis), or whether products with THC will also be permitted.
Recreational cannabis, meanwhile, is still illegal throughout the country. Many pro-cannabis are optimistic, though, that the government’s support for medical marijuana is a good sign of full cannabis reform in the near future.
The country is still deep in its war against drugs, grappling to curb drug trafficking and to loosen the strong hold of violent drug cartels on local communities. According to Reuters, these drug cartels are associated with over 140,000 violent deaths in Mexico in the past decade. Moreover, the smuggling of illegal drugs into the U.S. is also one of the largest income streams for these cartels, earning them millions of dollars.