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A bill to legalize and regulate marijuana sales in Mexico is being circulated among senators, and a top lawmaker says the plan is to vote on the proposal before December 15.

While the legislation has yet to be formally introduced, the draft measure largely mirrors an earlier version that the Senate passed late last year, with some modifications.

Senate Majority Leader Ricardo Monreal Avila of the ruling MORENA party has been pushing for reform and recently said there was agreement among top lawmakers to prioritize legislation to regulate cannabis.

The Mexican Supreme Court declared nearly three years ago that the country Banning the personal possession and cultivation of cannabis was unconstitutional. Subsequently, lawmakers were bound to enact the policy change but have since been unable to reach consensus on legislation to set regulations for a marijuana program.

At the request of lawmakers, the court agreed to extend the deadline for Congress to formally end the ban on multiple occasions. but because of Repeated failed attempts to meet these deadlines, judges They eventually voted to end decriminalization on their own in June.

Monreal previously said the stage is set for lawmakers Marijuana legalization law has already passed During the new session after multiple attempts in recent years failed to cross the finish line.

Under the bill currently in circulation, adults 18 and older are allowed to purchase and possess up to 28 grams of marijuana and grow up to six plants for personal use.

Members of the Senate Health and Justice Committees were chosen to draft the cannabis bill.

The measure stated that the purpose of the reform was to promote “public health, human rights and sustainable development” and “improve the living conditions of people living in the United Mexican States.”

It would also “prevent and combat the consequences of the problematic consumption of psychoactive cannabis and contribute to reducing the incidence of crime associated with drug trafficking, and promoting the peace, security and well-being of the individual and society.”

Regulators will be tasked with establishing separate rules for regulating cannabis use for adults and for research and industrial production.

The bill would create the Mexican Institute for the Regulation and Control of Cannabis, which would be a decentralized body under the Ministry of Health. She will also be responsible for issuing licenses, overseeing the program, and promoting public awareness campaigns about marijuana.

Retail licenses must be issued within 18 months of the law being enacted.

In order to “compensate for damages caused by the ban,” the bill states that at least 40 percent of marijuana cultivation licenses must go to the communities most affected by the decriminalization of cannabis during at least the first five years of implementation. After this point, at least 20 percent of the licenses must be reserved for stock applicants.

After the Supreme Court independently invalidated the ban earlier this year, defenders of the decision stressed that the decision underscores the need for lawmakers to urgently pass a measure to implement a comprehensive system of legal and regulated sales. They want to make sure that a fair market is created, that addresses the harms of criminalization on certain communities and promotes personal freedom.

Advocates are pleased to see Senate leadership take seriously the need to establish regulations and provide access to cannabis for adults, but they have identified some provisions as problematic.

For example, possession of more than 200 grams of marijuana may result in a prison sentence.

Senate President Olga Sánchez Cordero, who previously held a cabinet-level position in the administration of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, said recently that “there is a There is no longer room for ban policy.as you say effect The United States Is Responsible for Failed Marijuana Criminalization Laws in her.

The Senate approved a legalization bill late last year, then passed the House Review and pass it in March, and return it to the original room. Then some Senate committees Took over and approved the amended procedureBut the leaders soon started sending signals Some revisions made the proposal impractical.

After the House of Representatives previously approved the legalization bill passed by the Senate, the senators said the revised proposal was critically internally conflicting — on provisions on legal tenure limits, the definition of cannabis and other matters — and lawmakers could subject themselves to criminal liability if it came into law. Implementation as formulated.

But Monreal said in April that if the court were to issue a declaration of unconstitutionality before approving a measure to regulate cannabis, it would lead to “chaos”.

The top senator also spoke of the importance of lawmakers taking their time to craft good policy and not rushing amid pressure from tobacco and pharmaceutical industry interests.

“We must not allow ourselves to be under the pressure of interests,” he said at the time. “The Senate must act with great wisdom in this matter.”

Senator Eduardo Ramirez Aguilar of the MORENA party said in April that “At this time, It is important to legislate the terms presented to us“Then consider further revisions to the cannabis laws through subsequent bills.

This is the position many advocates of legalization have taken as well, urging lawmakers to pass an incomplete bill immediately and then work to fix it later.

The Mexican president said in December that the vote on the legislative legislation was Delayed by minor “errors” in the proposal.

ratification bill Purge a joint set of Senate committees Before a full majority vote in that chamber last year, with some adjustments made after members unofficially Consider and discuss the proposal during a virtual hearing.

Members of the Senate Committee on Justice, Health, and Legislative Studies had Approved an earlier version of legal cannabis legalization Last year, too, the pandemic delayed consideration of the issue. Senator Julio Ramon Menchaca Salazar of the MORENA party said in April that legalizing cannabis could Filling treasury vaults as the economy recovers from the health crisis.

As lawmakers work to push reform legislation forward, there has been a more subtle push to focus attention on the issue by certain members and activists. This batch mostly involved growing and gifting marijuana.

Late last year, Sanchez Cordero was a senior management official Senator gifted cannabis On the Senate floor, she said she would make it part of her personal garden.

different legislator Gave Sanchez Cordero, a marijuana joint On the House floor in 2019. This joint is now framed and hung in her office.

Cannabis appeared again in the legislature last year, when Senator Jessa Rodriguez of the MORENA party She decorated her desk with marijuana plants.

Drug policy reform advocates have also planted hundreds of marijuana plants in front of the Senate, pressing lawmakers to honor their pledge to advance legalization.

Read the marijuana legalization project law Project They circulate in the Mexican Senate below:

The Taliban announces a deal to grow cannabis in Afghanistan, amid questions about the company’s involvement

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