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Mexico brings in first medical cannabis legislation

Mexico is set to follow in the footsteps of many US states and introduce its first medical cannabis legislation. The news came on June 19 when the country’s president Enrique Pena Nieto published a bill legalizing medical marijuana, providing products contain less than 1 percent THC.

The wheels were first put in motion for this new legislation when the bill passed through the Mexican Senate by an overwhelming 98-7. Then, a few months later, Mexico’s lower hours passed the bill by an even more one-sided margin of 374-7.

All that was left was for Pena Nieto to sign the bill into law, which he did on June 19, explaining why the day was such a momentous one for cannabis activists in Mexico.

Dr Jose Narro Robles, Mexico’s Secretary of Health, gave his public endorsement to the bill and welcomed its signing in with a statement. However, there are some restrictions to the law which means Mexico’s version of cannabis form isn’t as comprehensive as, say, Colorado’s.

Mexico’s Health Ministry now has the power to create new regulations related to medical marijuana and produce its own cannabis-based pharmaceutical medication. However, the 1 percent THC limit means that not all patients will be able to benefit, as they need the therapeutic qualities of the cannabinoid, even though it has psychoactive properties.

As Mexico gets ready to implement the new cannabis legislation, the Health Ministry will be bringing in further rules concerning its use.

Many cannabis advocates in Mexico are sceptical about how much difference this new law will make, and several senators and a prominent civil rights group have raised the same issues. Indeed, Senator Miguel Barbosa offered strong criticism, saying the law fell “well below” what Mexican society was looking for.

Echoing those thoughts, Senator Armando Rios Peter remarked that the legislation is merely a “tiny” step forward.

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