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Chaos In Mexico As Senate Misses Cannabis Legalisation Deadline

With Mexico set to become the world’s largest legal cannabis market, all eyes have been focused firmly on the country’s legislators for the past several months. With the Senate having first approved a legalisation bill back in November and the Chamber of Deputies having followed suit in March of this year, it seemed very much as though prohibition was done and dusted in Mexico. What no one expected, however, was that lawmakers would simply miss the deadline to ratify the new law.

What Just Happened With Cannabis In Mexico?

Legalisation has been on the cards in Mexico ever since the Supreme Court of Justice declared prohibition to be unconstitutional back in 2018, and ordered Congress to create a law to finally end the criminalisation of cannabis. After numerous extensions were requested and granted, a final deadline for doing so was set for April 30 this year, when the current congressional session came to an end.

Things seemed to be going smoothly when the Senate approved a legalisation bill towards the end of 2020, sending it to the Chamber of Deputies for ratification. Once in the lower house, the bill underwent a few changes before being approved, which meant it had to go back upstairs to the Senate for final sign-off.

Unfortunately, the amendments requested by the lower house created divisions within the Senate, and no agreement could be reached as to whether or not to approve the bill. That being the case, many in Mexico expected that lawmakers would do the logical thing and request another extension to the deadline so that they could iron out the details and get the bill over the line.

Oddly, that simply didn’t happen, which means the timeframe set out by the Supreme Court for the legalisation of cannabis in Mexico has elapsed, with no bill having been passed.

What Does This Mean For Cannabis In Mexico?

Basically, no one knows what happens now. Officially, the passing of the deadline has no direct consequences, although the Supreme Court has until May 28 to make a declaration regarding the unconstitutionality of cannabis prohibition.

Should the Court reassert this declaration, then the legal situation becomes very confusing. According to some, this would render all prohibitionist laws null and void, yet would fail to establish a framework for the legal regulation of cannabis in Mexico. Whether this truly is the case, and what consequences such a scenario could bring, are uncertain.

To avoid having to find out, activists and politicians are now calling for a special legislative session to be held after the upcoming elections in June, to try and get the bill through. However, given that the make-up of the Mexican legislature could change between now and then, it’s very hard to predict what the outcome of such a session might be.

Cultivation information, and media is given for those of our clients who live in countries where cannabis cultivation is decriminalised or legal, or to those that operate within a licensed model. We encourage all readers to be aware of their local laws and to ensure they do not break them.

This post is also available in: French

Ben Taub