Report: Draft law to legalize recreational cannabis in Mexico handed to Senate commissions

The Mexican Senate’s parliamentary commissions of justice, health and legislative studies received a proposed law to establish a federally regulated adult-use marijuana industry.

It is expected that the three commissions will debate the draft Thursday.

The proposed law has not been made public, but according to the newspaper Milenio, it would:

  • Increase the personal possession limit from 8 grams to 30 grams for marijuana, also adjusting quantities for other drugs.
  • Allow cultivation in marginalized areas of the country.
  • Create the Institute of Regulation and Control of Cannabis.
  • Allow for the release of thousands of prisoners convicted of cannabis related offenses.

The Senate has until next week to legalize marijuana, as mandated by the Supreme Court.

However, Miguel Ángel Navarro, president of the Health Commission, said the Senate could ask the court for an extension of the deadline, according to Milenio.

Sen. Miguel Ángel Mancera Espinosa said there still is no clear consensus around the “form and mechanism” on how legalization will occur, the newspaper reported.

In a separate interview with Milenio, Sen. Julio Ramón Menchaca Salazar, president of the Justice Commission, advanced some generalities of the draft.

The Olga Sanchez Cordero bill, filed almost a year ago, still appears to be the foundation for the expected final bill.

“It can be enriched,” Menchaca said.

These are the key takeaways of the draft:

  • The state will not promote recreational use but will respect the Supreme Court’s ruling that the prohibition of cannabis is unconstitutional as it violates the fundamental right to the free development of the personality.
  • The final draft will seek middle ground between those who seek strict state controls and those who want no controls.
  • Menchaca mentioned U.S. states as examples for cannabis legalization, saying that when controls are too high, illegal sales soar. He mentioned Colorado as the “best example” where marijuana is accessible, taxes are paid, it’s an uncomplicated program and illegal sales have fallen.
  • Despite potential risks associated with consumption, the state will recognize the decisions of individuals whether to consume. The key is to encourage legality. Because illegality generates “mafias, violence, death,” according to Menchaca.

He reiterated the law should be approved by the Senate before the end of the month and then will go to the lower house, where the ruling party also has parliamentary majorities.

Alfredo Pascual can be reached at