Cannabis Soon to Be Legal for Most Uses in Mexico

In previous newsletters, we reported that-following certain lawsuits, including some that were handled by Olivares in April 2017-the Mexican Congress amended the Health Law to expressly authorize the use of cannabis and other narcotics for medical and scientific use.

Most recently, on October 30, the Mexican Regulatory Agency (COFEPRIS) published the expected guidelines to establish the criteria for the appraisal of applications of authorizations for the commercialization, exploitation, and importation of products with broad industrial uses that contain cannabis and its derivative in concentrations less than 1% of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

The guidelines include the following rules:

  • The protocols for clinical and scientific investigation using cannabis;
  • Definition, description and limitation of activities related to the medical use of cannabis;
  • Import and export requirements and conditions;
  • Rules for the use of THC in food, beverages and supplements;
  • Rules for the use of THC in herbal supplements;
  • Other industrial uses;
  • Publicity and advertising; and
  • Enforcement, inspections and sanctions.

These rules are already in full force.

One day after these guidelines were published, on October 31, the Mexican Supreme Court conformed jurisprudence related to the casual or recreational use of cannabis.

In short, the Mexican Supreme Court decided that, in order to preserve the right to personal freedom, the individual use of cannabis for recreational or casual use should be authorized. In order for this jurisprudence to be applicable, the individual should file a Constitutional Action (amparo) against COFEPRIS´s refusal to authorize personal use of cannabis for recreational use, because the jurisprudence the case will be decided on behalf of applicant. The ruling includes the conditions that individuals should request the right to recreational use of cannabis in adulthood (more than 18 years old), and that this right cannot be exercised in public places where third parties have not expressed their consent, nor in the presence of minors.

The new government will take office on December 1, 2018,. It has already announced, along with the Congress, that there is a proposal for a new bill to regulate and control the process of harvesting, storage, transportation, labeling, production, publicity, sponsorship, sales and commercialization of cannabis.

In conclusion:

  1. i) Cannabis in Mexico is already legal for medical and scientific use;
  2. ii) under certain conditions, some adult individuals will be allowed to use cannabis for recreational purposes; and

iii) a new law is expected to once and for all legalize and control the use of cannabis in Mexico.

These three legal developments are breaking the traditional taboo in Mexico against the legalization and control of marijuana and other narcotics. The new approach will undoubtedly influence the life science industry in Mexico, as well as impact public policies related to criminal law and strategies for combating the drug cartels.

Newsletters - Regulatory Law