The Senate committees approved this Wednesday, after several months of delays and with the interruption of the process caused by the pandemic, the ruling regulating the recreational use of marijuana, and now it will go to the Plenary, where it will be discussed and, if applicable, it will be approved today.
The majority of the members of the commissions of Justice, Health and Legislative Studies, Second, approved the opinion in general and in specific, they had already discussed last Friday remotely.
However, the legislative battle in plenary is expected to be as controversial and intense as the issue that the senators will address.
The joint committees 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.
In the new ruling, everything related to medicinal use was eliminated, in addition to the industrial use of hemp. The proposed Federal Law for the Regulation of Cannabis does not speak of “recreational consumption” or “recreational”, but of “adult consumption” .
It also includes the creation of the 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 outstanding 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 punished with possible jail. If it is between 28 and 200 grams, the person will receive a financial fine.
In addition, it will be limited to four psychoactive cannabis plants per person, which must remain in the home or house 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 or not as psychotropic.
The administrative sanctions can range from 5,200 pesos (about 255 USD) to almost 261,000 pesos (about 13,000 USD) , as well as the closure of associations where marijuana is allowed (these groups may have up to 20 members).
This provoked 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 also highlighted that, due to the mandate of the Court, legislation had to be brought out and perfected on the fly.
The new ruling also provides penalties of between five to 10 years in prison for those who employ girls, boys or adolescents in any activity related to sowing, cultivating, planting, harvesting, trading, production, distribution, supply, sale, and other stages of the cannabis production chain.
The Federal Law for the Regulation of Cannabis not only regulates “adult use” or recreational use for personal use 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 its commercialization, research and industrial use, always without taking into account the medicinal section.
Article 13 of the legislation is clear: “It is allowed for persons of legal age with the possibility of freely expressing their consent, to consume psychoactive cannabis”, provided that two conditions are met.
The first, that it is not carried out in front of any person under eighteen years of age or any other person who is unable to expressly express their free and informed consent and who could be exposed to the harmful impact of second-hand smoke.
Therefore, persons under the age of eighteen or anyone else 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 consent for it, “in order to avoid the harmful impact of second-hand smoke.”
Therefore, 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, which must obtain a license and meet the requirements that the legislation specifies.
To arrive at the current opinion, “at all times he has deprived respect for the differences of points of view and above all the conviction that it is an important opinion and that it is important to find those points of convergence”, said Senator Claudia Ruiz Massieu.
“The opinion that we are analyzing today has an important advance compared to what we had been learning in previous versions. An opinion that is much more balanced between the different positions,” he added.
It was also highlighted that this ruling aims to remove the stigmatization of marijuana users, but also of an ancient plant, which has been exploited by crime and not by the State.
“May it be for the good of Mexico, may it be with justice for our peasants, may it be for the respect of development and the free personality of Mexican men and women,” said Senator Ana Lilia Rivera Rivera, from Morena.