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Mexico senate approves recreational marijuana use

Mexico City, Mexico — The Plenary of the Senate of the Republic has approved the recreational use of marijuana. The approval came with 82 votes in favor of and 18 against (with seven abstentions) the legalization of marijuana for recreational, scientific, medical and industrial uses.

The initiative includes the creation of the Mexican Institute for the Regulation and Control of Cannabis where possession of 28 grams will be allowed, but the use of psychoactive cannabis in public or private work areas is prohibited.

This Institute will be “a decentralized public body of the Ministry of Health in charge of regulating, monitoring, sanctioning and evaluating the cannabis regulation system,” says the opinion.

The initiative stipulates that only people over 18 years of age may cultivate, carry and consume marijuana and its derivatives, and only with a permit from the Mexican Institute for the Regulation and Control of Cannabis.

With the Senate approval, which still has to go to the Chamber of Deputies for its final approval, the creation of a federal law for the regulation of cannabis, as well as an amendment of Article 81 of the Federal Health Law and the Federal Penal Code, has also been proposed.

The draft decree contemplates a new legal order to regulate and control the consumption, production and trade of cannabis. The new entity will issue five types of licenses to control some of the acts related to the cultivation, transformation, sale, research and import/export of marijuana.

The general law for the regulation of cannabis must pass to the Chamber of Deputies for review and approval before the end of the current legislature on December 15. If the project is fully approved, the Mexican Institute for Cannabis Regulation and Control will issue permits to those who want to sell cannabis-related products.

Since President Andrés Manuel López Obrador took office in December 2018, he has put the issue of the decriminalization of marijuana and other drugs on the table as part of his strategy to combat powerful organized crime.