Mexico’s deadline to legalize cannabis has been extended to Dec. 15.
The Supreme Court accepted a request from a group of Senators on Friday to postpone the April 30 deadline to approve a law to legalize cannabis nationwide.
The bill is expected to be approved during the Senate’s next ordinary session period, which starts in September.
Marijuana Business Daily reported in March that the April 30 deadline was expected to be missed because both houses of Mexico’s Legislature suspended most of their work because of the pandemic.
The Supreme Court originally set an October 2019 deadline, but the Senate received an “exceptional and one-time only” extension after it failed to reach a consensus.
Senate commissions approved the legalization bill in March, but the document still needs to go through the full Senate, then the Chamber of Deputies (the lower house) before being signed into law by the president.
If legislators comply with the new deadline, a functional regulated cannabis market in Mexico could still be years away.
After the law enters into effect, a cannabis regulatory institute must be created by the government, which will be responsible for drafting important rules.
According to the latest version of the bill, the institute would be responsible for establishing license requirements and THC limits.
The proposed bill has undergone many modifications thus far and will likely see more.
According to its latest version, the measure would, among other things:
- Limit foreign investment in a cannabis business licensee to 49%.
- Block vertical integration by allowing a business to possess only one type of license – chosen from cultivation, transformation, commercialization and import and export.
- Limit horizontal integration, for instance, by restricting the allowable number of retail points of sale or limiting the area that a cultivation license holder would be able to cultivate.
“Vulnerable” domestic agrarian communities that have been affected by marijuana prohibition could be exempted from some of these restrictions, according to the draft law.
Alfredo Pascual can be reached at [email protected]