By / September 15, 2020

Mexico’s cannabis regulation stuck in legal limbo

The last deadline given by Mexico’s Supreme Court of Justice to issue regulations on the therapeutic use of cannabis expired on September 9, but the central authority did not comply. No representative has stepped forward to explain the reasons; everything continues as if the patients don’t matter.

In Mexico, patients and their families have waited more than three years for clear rules which would enable the use cannabis and its derivatives for medical purposes, without the risk of being treated as a criminal for the growth or manipulation of the plant, as is currently the case.

With similar concerns, researchers interested in producing scientific evidence for the medicinal use of cannabidiol (CBD) and the psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are also waiting for a decision to be made. 

Still, there are a few who received protections for the use of cannabis. But for every one of those who have, many more have waited for these regulations. These individuals who currently depend on the beneficial active substances of cannabis for their therapy are still in fear for their safety as these procedures are still not entirely legal.

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Mexico’s cannabis regulation law has been suffering countless delays

Four years have passed since the General Health Law was reformed. The country is still stuck in the same thing today: the regulation – a new version already prepared by the new government – is stuck again in the Legal Counsel of the Presidency. At least, this is what the health officials say in short, because no one is willing to speak about it.

Many believe the country is in the midst of generalized impunity, as the Government authorities keep failing to comply with what has been agreed before, and there is not a single sanction for those who don’t want to discuss the approval of the much-needed cannabis law.

The anger among patients and relatives is understandable (there are many cases of parents that find it very difficult to get cannabis therapy for their children) as they have waited patiently for these regulations, yet they have not received an answer or explanation for the delay.

It is possible that the delays are being done on purpose

Juan Carlos Castillo from the CG&A, a specialist in health regulation who has been very attentive to the legalization processes of cannabis in Mexico, poses a theory that cannot be ruled out. 

The theory is that, although patients and families are desperate for regulatory clarity on medical cannabis, the timeline for regulations will follow the government’s plan to delay and lengthen the process of regulation to match the timeline of the Legislative, which also have a deadline to pass the law regarding adult cannabis use.

The Supreme Court also gave a specific window of time to the Legislature to put regulations in place for the legalization of adult cannabis use. This includes also includes regulations for recreational and any other use of the cannabis plant: industrial, veterinary, agronomic, cosmetics, etc.

In this channel—which runs parallel to that of medicinal use—the term for the discussion of this regulation was extended—first at the request of the Senate, and then due to the suspensions ordered by the pandemic—until December 15, 2020. The last day of the regular session has only just been, on September 1.

The road for cannabis regulation has been full of obstacles

It should be remembered that the term for this discussion has been suffering from delays since the beginning. Originally, it expired at the end of 2019, and then it was set to June 30, but due to the pandemic it was later extended until September 9.

It must also be said that the entire process of this regulation has been bumpy, mainly because in the past administration they did not meet any of the objectives planned.

But now, in this administration, the Department of Health managed to issue a version of the regulation, which was presented to the Commission National Regulatory Improvement (Conamer). Sadly, this body returned the document so it can be rewritten, as the current version did not meet the formal requirements for analysis.

It is understood that the Department of Health has already corrected it. Furthermore, Conamer accepted it and received multiple comments and observations, which remains to be seen if they will be included in the expected version that is supposed to be analyzed by the Ministry of the Presidency.

So far, everything that has happened makes it clear that patients and families have every reason to be desperate in the face of so much omission and slowness by authorities in their responses. A position that is indefensible wherever it is seen.


(Featured image by Bill Oxford via Unsplash)

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