The decriminalization of the recreational use of marijuana in Mexico advances: it was approved in Senate committees

The Plenary will discuss the ruling this Thursday, in what is expected to be an intense and controversial session (Photo: Carlos Jasso / Reuters)

Senate committees approved this Wednesday, after several months of delays and with the interruption of the process caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the opinion that regulates the recreational use of marijuana, and now it will go to the Plenary, where it will be discussed and, where appropriate, approved this Thursday.

The Most of the members of the Justice, Health and Legislative Studies commissions, Second, approved the opinion in general and in the specific, which they had already discussed last Friday at a distance. But nevertheless, the legislative battle in plenary is expected to be so controversial and intense as is the issue that the senators will deal with (some parties of opposition have already expressed their position against).

Thus, senators they withdrew the opinion they had (generally) approved last March. In addition, the joint commissions announced that An addendum will be presented with the considerations of different senators who were not satisfied with the opinion, to enrich the document on its way to its possible approval.

A tense environment is expected, due to the diversity of positions regarding cannabis (Photo: Cuartoscuro)
A tense environment is expected, due to the diversity of positions regarding cannabis (Photo: Cuartoscuro)

“Is a controversial opinion, It is going to be very difficult to look good with all those interested in the subject, with the population in general, but we are doing it with great conviction and with great responsibility all, voting from their perspective, from their interest, ”said Senator Julio Menchaca, from Morena, the majority party and president of the Justice Commission.

It was a very respectful environment, unlike other types of opinionsI think this is the one that will mark the legislature and with all the controversial, with all the extreme that could be done, it occurred within a framework of respect for all those who participated, ”he added.

And we will already have the opportunity, in plenary, to elaborate on the points of view

But legislators not only have a contentious and disputed issue on their hands: they also they have time against. And is that the Supreme Court (SCJN), after urging Congress to legislate on the issue with their decisions in particular cases, issued an extension until December 2020 to be able to do so.

What does the opinion say?

The Supreme Court gave Congress until December to legislate on the issue (Photo: José Pazos / EFE)
The Supreme Court gave Congress until December to legislate on the issue (Photo: José Pazos / EFE)

In the new opinion, obtained by Infobae Mexico, everything related to medicinal use was eliminated, in addition to the industrial use of hemp. In the proposal of Federal Law for the Regulation of Cannabis does not speak of “recreational consumption” or “recreational”, but of “adult consumption”.

In addition, it includes the creation of Mexican Institute for the Regulation and Control of Cannabis, which will be a decentralized body of the Ministry of Health. This will have a general director who will be freely appointed and removed by the head of said agency.

Perhaps the most prominent aspect of the new proposal to decriminalize the recreational use of marijuana is that Only the person who has possession of psychoactive cannabis over 200 grams will be sanctioned with possible jail. If it is between 28 and 200 grams, the person will receive a financial fine.

Further, will be limited to four psychoactive cannabis plants per person, which must remain in the home or home of the user for their personal use. But on the other hand It is prohibited to market any product that mixes marijuana with substances such as alcohol, nicotine, tobacco, caffeine, energy drinks or any other, considered psychotropic or not.

Some organizations and senators have denounced that criminalization remains in the new ruling (Photo: Cuartoscuro)
Some organizations and senators have denounced that criminalization remains in the new ruling (Photo: Cuartoscuro)

The Administrative penalties can range from 5,200 Mexican pesos (about 255 USD) to almost 261,000 pesos (about 13,000 USD), as well as the closure of associations where the consumption of marijuana will be allowed (these groups may have up to 20 members).

This caused harsh criticism from senator Jesusa Rodríguez, one of the most progressive in the Upper House, who said that “It is criminalized that if it is not consumed with these restrictive measures”, but he also stressed that, due to the mandate of the Court, the legislation had to be brought forward and perfected on the fly.

The new ruling also provides punishments of between five to 10 years in prison who employs girls, boys or adolescents in any activity related to the sowing, cultivation, planting, harvest, trade, production, distribution, supply, sale and other stages of the cannabis production chain.

It’s not just about consumption

The commercialization of cannabis and even its import and export will also be regulated (Photo: José Pazos / EFE)
The commercialization of cannabis and even its import and export will also be regulated (Photo: José Pazos / EFE)

The Federal Law for the Regulation of Cannabis not only regulates “adult use” or recreational use for personal or self-consumption, but also for shared use in associations, as mentioned before (between two and 20 people and with permission approved by the authorities), in addition to their commercialization, research and industrial use, always without taking into account the medicinal section.

Authorized establishments are those places where cannabis and its derivatives are commercialized for legal purposes and that have the corresponding license

Article 13 of the legislation is clear: “It is allowed to people of legal age with the possibility of freely expressing their consent, consume psychoactive cannabis”, provided two conditions are met.

The first, that it is not carried out in front of any person under the age of eighteen or any other person who is unable to expressly express their free and informed consent and that could be exposed to the harmful impact of secondhand smoke.

People may own up to four plants for self-consumption if the opinion is approved (Photo: José Pazos / EFE)
People may own up to four plants for self-consumption if the opinion is approved (Photo: José Pazos / EFE)

Thus, people under the age of eighteen or any other unable to expressly express their free and informed consent, will not have access to cannabis for adult or recreational use.

The second condition for recreational consumption is that it is not carried out in front of a person of legal age who has not given their consent for this, “in order to avoid the harmful impact of second-hand smoke.”

Thus, The use of marijuana is prohibited in work areas, public or private. Nor can you drive any vehicle, drive or operate equipment or machinery that could cause danger under the effects of THC.

On the other hand, article 14 allows the sale of psychoactive cannabis and its derivatives for adult use only within Mexico, which will be limited to establishments authorized by the new Institute, who must obtain a license and meet the requirements that the legislation specifies.

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