Mexico seeks public input as marijuana legalization draws closer

Mexico cannabis legalization, Mexico seeks public input as marijuana legalization draws closer

The Mexican parliament has created a website to announce a series of events and receive feedback from the public in advance of the expected full legalization of cannabis later this year.

Several parliamentary committees are inviting participation in what’s typically called an “open parliament.”

The first scheduled event, “Themed Cafe: Towards Cannabis Regulation,” will take place Aug. 12, Aug. 14 and Aug. 16. Each day has three time slots available, each with a capacity for 72 people.

Any adult can register to participate in the kickoff event until Aug. 15, or until all slots are reserved, whichever comes first. And more events could be announced.

The parliament also is soliciting written opinions about legalization through this website.

With the expected passage of a cannabis bill into law, Mexico would be the third country – and, by far, the largest with roughly 130 million inhabitants – to fully legalize marijuana nationwide, joining Uruguay and Canada.

Ten bills to regulate cannabis in Mexico have been filed in the past few years without gaining approval.

Of the 10, the foundation of the new law likely will be the bill that Secretary of the Interior Olga Sanchez Cordero presented last November.

It is now up to four parliamentary commissions – Justice, Health, Second of Legislative Studies and Public Safety – to turn all the bills into one law after receiving public input.

The parliamentary website coincides with the legislators’ approach that cannabis should be regulated based on public health concerns and respect of human rights.

Because of a Supreme Court decision that gave the parliament until October 2019 to legalize, Mexican legislators are scrambling to get regulations in place in time.

“If the parliament doesn’t legalize by October, the Supreme Court could legislate in its place,” José Trinidad, director of public affairs of Canncura Pharma, a research-focused Mexican medical cannabis firm, told Marijuana Business Daily.

“There’s currently some tension between the Supreme Court and the executive power,” he added. “Because the parliament and the executive power are generally aligned, legislation is likely to be in place by October to avoid the Supreme Court doing it.”

The current Mexican government has ample parliamentary majorities to get the legalization bill approved without meaningful resistance.

Even if Mexico has a cannabis law in place by October, it’s unlikely the still-to-be-created agency that would oversee the industry would have the necessary resources to start work before the end of the year, so business opportunities likely would not be available until 2020.

Alfredo Pascual can be reached at