Unfortunately, it looks like Mexico may leave hemp out of the cannabis law bill.
That is right folks, after much discussion, lobbying and attempts to educate the government on cannabis legalization in Mexico (yes, we have also made our small contributions), the Mexican Senate seems more focused on creating the appearance that it will go after drug cartels, and protect non-marijuana smokers’ rights, than creating an actual industry. The most recent example of this posture is by leaving hemp out of the discussion.
We have been monitoring the cannabis legalization process in Mexico very closely for years. Last June we reported that the Cannabis Law bill had been stalled, for no apparent reason. Eventually, the Supreme Court had to convince the legislative power of the urgency to regulate cannabis production and distribution.
Now, finally, after months of inactivity, the Senate claims to be discussing the Cannabis Law bill again, but not as we remember it. Per reports filtered out to the media, the senators are discussing a new bill (in tandem with amendments to the General Health Law), aimed at providing that an individual can carry up to 28g of marijuana for personal use. A corresponding proposed amendment to the Federal Criminal Code would provide that possessing anywhere between 28g and 28kg will not be a crime. Anything above that amount will be prosecuted as drug trafficking, punishable with up to 10 years of jailtime. Mexican Senators are also proposing that non-smokers will be able to file a claim against marijuana consumers, if the former deem their right to a smoke-free environment is being diminished in any way.
What is reprehensible in our view, however, is that contrary to previous versions of the Cannabis Law bill, hemp is utterly — and inexplicably — left out. Readers of the Canna Law Blog will remember that hemp is scarcely regulated in the Mexican legal system. Hemp is mentioned in the Medical Cannabis Regulations only in a single provision, and even that provision is incomplete. The industry accepted this, under the promise that lack of regulation would be fixed in the Cannabis Law bill. The Supreme Court ruled in December, after all, that prohibition of hemp cultivation is unconstitutional.
The Senators’ agreement to leave hemp out of the Cannabis Law bill has left stakeholders understandably perplexed. We hope that Mexican Senators “see the error in their ways”, and soon. As we have reported here and here, if there is one sector of the cannabis industry that can help boost Mexican economic reactivation post-pandemic, it is industrial hemp. In the meantime, we will continue reporting the latest news on cannabis legalization in Mexico. We cannot insist enough on getting your business plan and your company ready for when that time comes. Stay tuned!