Despite the president’s recent assertions that the government would not be legalizing recreational marijuana, legislation that would do just that passed out of Mexican Senate committees yesterday. Their vote came down to 26 senators in favor and eight opposed, with six abstaining.
Should the legislation receive final approval, Mexico would become the largest cannabis market in the world by population with roughly 130 million residents — nearly 3.5 times the size of second runner up Canada.
The bill would increase the amount of cannabis Mexicans are allowed for personal possession from the five that have been currently decriminalized to 28 grams, let people grow up to four plants in their home, and establish the Mexican Institute of Cannabis Regulation and Control to oversee the new industries and permitting procedures. Licensed medical cannabis patients will be allowed to plant up to 20 plants under the plan.
During two hours of debate, senators voiced support for and concern over the regulation draft. Antares Vázquez of the president’s Morena Party said marijuana legalization “is not promoting its use, but an attempt to regulate the black market.” Cannabis and other drugs have long been sold by powerful illegal cartels in the country.