Mexico remains on track to become the world’s largest market for legal cannabis.
According to New York Times, the country’s lower house has approved a landmark bill that aims to legalize recreational marijuana use. The legislation passed Wednesday in a vote of 316 to 129, with 23 lawmakers abstaining. The news comes more than three years after Mexico legalized medical marijuana, and more than two years after its Supreme Court determined a ban on recreational marijuana was unconstitutional.
“Today we are in a historic moment,” Simey Olvera, a lawmaker with the governing Morena party, said. “With this, the false belief that cannabis is part of Mexico’s serious public health problems is left behind.”
The bill, which is now headed to Mexico’s Senate for review and possible revisions, would allow an existing agency to issue licenses for the cultivation, sale, research, transformation, export/import of cannabis. Under the proposed law, only citizens 18 and older are allowed to purchase, grow, possess, and consume cannabis. Individual would be permitted to carry up to 28 grams of the substance and grow no more than six cannabis plants for personal use. A provision under the current bill would require citizens to receive government approval before growing cannabis at home.
If the bill passes, Mexico would become the largest legal marijuana market in the world with a population of over 120 million people. Proponents of the legislation say a regulated market could drastically reduce crime within the country and give it a much-needed economic boost.
“It’s an excellent economic, natural, ethical and moral solution for a country in need,” said Juan Sánchez Mejorada, chief executive of medicinal cannabis company Ceres Soluciones. “Doing this right could give Mexico an economic surplus.”