After years of debate, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, confirmed yesterday, that by way of a special presidential decree, cannabis is now legal for medicinal use.
Leafly reported that the law was passed thanks to “overwhelming support from Mexico’s Lower House of Congress.”
While Pena Nieto has historically been a staunch opponent of cannabis legalization, mainly due to the issues his government faces with cannabis on the black market there, he changed his tune in 2016.
While speaking at a United Nations General Assembly special session in April of that year, he said, “So far, the solutions [to control drugs and crime] implemented by the international community have been frankly insufficient. We must move beyond prohibition to effective prevention.”
That change in tune may not have gone down so well with the drug cartels in Mexico, many of which are very powerful and weald a lot of influence. However, it has gone down as historic as far as medical cannabis legislation is concerned.
Many saw this coming, despite pessimism on some sides, as last year the Mexican president introduced measures that permitted Mexican citizens to possess up to one ounce of cannabis for personal use. However, that bill was shunted in Congress.
However, the bill introduced by decree for medical cannabis use sailed through the Mexican Senate, with 347 for and only 7 against. At the time, Mexico’s Secretary of Health, Dr. José Narro Robles, told reporters, “I welcome the approval of the therapeutic use of cannabis in Mexico.”
The details of the new legislation eliminates, among other things, “Criminalization of the medicinal use of cannabis, THC, CBD, and all cannabis derivatives, as well as legalizing the production and distribution of cannabis for medicinal and therapeutic uses.”
It must be mentioned that at this stage of the process, medical cannabis will only be allowed a maximum of 1% THC, the main psychoactive compound in the plant, while levels of CBD and other compounds will be higher, in line with medical use.
Mexico still has a long road ahead in terms of solidifying good practice for medical cannabis use in the country.
These latest steps are certainly headed in the right direction, while other countries could take a leaf from Mexico’s book and start their own process for making medical cannabis available to patients in need.
[Image credit: Pixabay]