By / July 6, 2020

Cannabis legalization in Mexico is postponed once again due to the pandemic

The path to freeing cannabis in Mexico is still a thorny one. The bureaucratic process requires a regulation to allow operations that, for the time being, are being delayed.

And now after much discussion, the deadline has been rescheduled once again for the Ministry of Health and Cofepris, the agency that regulates public consumption, to draw up the long-awaited regulation on cannabis. The deadline given by the court to draw up the regulations was 180 days.

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The legalization of cannabis is still in a bureaucratic loophole

The Judiciary reactivated the deadline that obliges the Secretariat of Health and Cofepris to elaborate a regulation that allows the use of medicines with cannabis, this as a result of the sentence issued by the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation, in favor of an amparo presented by a family last year.

The amparo in review 57/2019 was filed by the parents of a child with epilepsy, so that their son, a minor, would have urgent access to a treatment based on cannabidiol oil (CBD), useful against cerebral ischemic epilepsy, among other things.

What hinders access to these treatments is that the Ministry of Health and the Federal Commission for Protection against Health Risks (Cofepris) have not issued regulations to allow the use of these cannabis-based drugs.

The deadline given by the court to draw up the regulations was 180 days (end of December), recalled the Health Ministry, which assured that they are still working to create such regulations.

The government blames the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason for the delay

Due to the health emergency caused by COVID-19, the Federal Judiciary Council had suspended the activities of the jurisdictional bodies since March 18th, and therefore the procedural deadlines and terms would not run from that date, with the exception of urgent matters.

Subsequently, the Ministry of Health recalled in a statement that the Agreement was amended to extend the suspension until June 30th, with the same exception.

However, a few days ago, the court of knowledge determined that the sentence of the amparo in review 57/2019 is considered an urgent case, and the Health Secretariat was notified on June 9th about this definition, informing the unit itself.

“In this sense, the period of 180 working days to create the rules for the medical use of cannabis, continues to run again from June 10th, 2020, the date on which the notification of the aforementioned agreement took effect,” the ministry argued in a statement.

In this regard, the unit recalled that it was initially notified of the ruling on September 9th, 2019, and therefore assured that the approximate date of expiry of the deadline September 9th, 2020. It added that “all areas of the Secretariat continue working on the issue, to comply with this ruling.”

The agency headed by Jorge Alcocer described that since the notification of the ruling last year, the Office of the Attorney General of the Ministry of Health requested the head of Cofepris, José Alonso Novelo and its General Legal and Advisory Coordinator.

He did so “in order to carry out, as a matter of priority and urgency, the work related to the harmonization of the regulations aimed at complying with the ruling, with the participation of the Subsecretariat of Prevention and Health Promotion, the National Commission against Addictions, Psychiatric Care Services, and other substantive areas of the Secretariat in the matter.”


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