Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto issued a decree to legalize marijuana after overwhelming support from Mexico’s Lower House of Congress. The decree, however, comes with a catch. Only products with 1 percent THC or lower will be allowed.
The historic policy began back in December of 2016 when the Mexican Senate passed the bill with huge support on a 98-7 vote. From there the policy went through Mexico’s Lower House of Congress where it too earned a giant majority, receiving an astonishing 374-7 vote.
Mexico’s Secretary of Health also publicly voiced his support. “I welcome the approval of the therapeutic use of cannabis in Mexico,” he wrote on Twitter.
But there were still months of speculation as Peña Nieto was a staunch opponent of cannabis legalization. He began changing his mind, however, after Mexico held a national public debate on legalization. As Leafly reported, Peña Nieto told the 2016 United Nations General Assembly Special Sessions in April 2016: “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.”
Peña Nieto’s decree tasks the Ministry of Health with establishing and enforcing regulations regarding “public policies regulating the medicinal use of pharmacological derivatives of cannabis sativa, indica and Americana or marijuana, including tetrahydrocannabinol, its isomers and stereochemical variants, as well as how to regulate the research and national production of them.”
This decree also takes significant measures in effectively eliminating criminalization of the medicinal use of marijuana, in addition to legalizing the production and selling of cannabis for medicinal and therapeutic usage. As mentioned, the only cannabis to be permitted must contain 1 percent or less of THC.
Still this is a significant milestone for legalization. While the Ministry of Health will require time to determine the legal and medicinal networks, the biggest obstacle has already been tackled.
As a statement from the Lower House of Parliament, known as La Cámara de Diputados, read “The ruling eliminates the prohibition and criminalization of acts related to the medicinal use of marijuana and its scientific research, and those relating to the production and distribution of the plant for these purposes.”