On November 19, 2020, the Senate of our country generally approved the opinion issuing the Federal Law for the Regulation of Cannabis, as well as some reforms and modifications to the General Health Law and the Federal Criminal Code. The approval was given with 82 votes in favor, 18 against and 7 abstentions.
The relevant points of the approved Cannabis regulation proposal are the following:
- The proposal has as its guiding principle the promotion, respect, protection and guarantee of Human Rights, human dignity and fundamental freedoms, all under the terms provided by the Political Constitution of our country.
Likewise, it seeks to provide priority attention and guarantee the protection of groups in situations of vulnerability and disadvantage, including: children, adolescents, the elderly, people with disabilities, the LGBTTTI + community, indigenous peoples and communities, peasants as well as agrarian communities.
2. The main objective of the regulation is to promote peace and security in society, as well as to contribute to the reduction of the illegal cannabis market and as a consequence of organized crime, corruption and violence.
3. Under a public health approach, the aim is to combat the problematic consumption of Cannabis, for which policies and measures for prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and even social reintegration will be implemented.
4. The regulation on the productive chain of Cannabis, its derivatives and its consumption will be in charge of the Ministry of Health through a newly created Institute that is the Mexican Institute for the Regulation and Control of Cannabis (hereinafter the “Institute”). This Institute will be a decentralized body and the holder will be freely appointed and removed by the holder of the Ministry of Health.
5. People of legal age may consume psychoactive Cannabis only in their home, as long as it is not done in front of a person under 18 years of age or any person who is unable to expressly express their free and informed consent, this is does in order to avoid the harmful impact of secondhand smoke.
6. Regarding personal use or self-consumption, it is limited to the amount of 6 psychoactive Cannabis plants, as well as the product of the plantation harvest per person, which must be kept in the home or house of who consumes it.
In the event that more than one consuming person of legal age lives in the home, the amount of psychoactive Cannabis plants and the product of the plantation harvest may not exceed 8 plants.
7. The sale of psychoactive Cannabis and its derivatives will be allowed for adult use only within the national territory and will be limited to establishments authorized by the Institute. These establishments must obtain a license issued by the Institute and comply with the requirements established by the applicable regulations.
8. Cannabis consumers will not be required to have physical barriers in their homes or houses that prevent other non-consumers from inhaling the smoke.
9. In the same way, the power given to the Public Ministry to carry out home searches of registered consumers was eliminated.
The licenses for cultivation, transformation and commercialization are mutually exclusive; however, licenses for the export or import of non-psychoactive Cannabis are exempt from this provision, which may be granted with another type of license.
11. In the cases in which a person is in possession of more than 28 and up to 200 grams of psychoactive Cannabis, it will have to be referred to the competent administrative authority, in accordance with what is established by the Law of Civic Culture in the City of Mexico or its counterpart in the Federal Entities, and a fine ranging from 60 to 120 times the daily value of the Measurement and Update Unit (UMA) will be imposed.
Possession of psychoactive Cannabis will only be criminally punishable when it exceeds 200 grams, from 201 grams to 28 kilos, it is considered possession for drug dealing and from 28 kilos onwards, it will be considered drug trafficking.
12. One of the most relevant changes is that people who have been prosecuted or sentenced for simple possession may be released. In addition to the above, within a period of 6 months from the entry into force of the decree of Law, the criminal records of these people must be eliminated.
13. The sowing, cultivation or harvesting of marijuana plants will not be criminally punishable when these activities are carried out for medical and scientific purposes. Similarly, hemp was removed from the list of psychoactive substances.
14. The Ministry of Health will have to carry out various regulatory adjustments in order to bring them into line with the provisions of the Federal Law for the Regulation of Cannabis. To carry out these adjustments, the Ministry of Health will have a term that will not exceed 6 months from the entry into force of the Law decree.
Gloria Ponce de León & Hernández