Mexico Decriminalizes Recreational Marijuana, Moves Towards Legalization

On June 28, 2021, the Mexican Supreme Court voted in an 8-3 ruling in favor of the decriminalization of marijuana. This ruling comes after Congress stalled a decision over cannabis legalization for over three years. The Mexican Supreme Court’s monumental ruling exerts pressure on the Mexican Congress to vote on cannabis legalization. If approved by Congress, Mexico would become the largest cannabis market in the world. Below, we outline the history behind this controversial matter and dissect what it means for the marijuana industry as a whole.

Moving Forward With Recreational Marijuana Legalization

Before the Mexican Supreme Court’s marijuana decriminalization decision, Mexican citizens could only legally obtain marijuana by seeking a court injunction. However, those approved could only seek cannabis as a form of medical treatment. To possess marijuana legally after decriminalization, citizens can apply for a permit from Mexico’s Federal Commission for Protections Against Health Risks (known locally as “Cofepris”). Anyone over the age of 18 approved by Cofepris can legally acquire up to 28 grams of cannabis. If interested in homegrown cultivation and harvesting, an approval by Cofepris allows for the possession of eight plants.

This substantially progressive motion appears to be a direct response to influential advocates who have continually pushed for decriminalization to mitigate drug-motivated cartel violence that has remained prevalent throughout Mexico. 

A Long Road Pervaded With Delays

The legalization of marijuana in Mexico has been met with a history of delays. The criminalization of cannabis was initially ruled as unconstitutional by the Mexican Supreme Court back in 2018. However, a delay in Congress caused lawmakers to miss the proposed voting deadline. This delay caused the Supreme Court of Mexico to vote once again in favor of decriminalization, a delay that comes after almost four years of medical marijuana being legalized. These unprecedented setbacks have decidedly hindered the potentially biggest cannabis market in the world. 

2021 has been a busy year for cannabis legislation in Mexico. In early January of 2021, Mexico published regulations regarding medical cannabis use, marking a notable move in the Mexican and the global marijuana community. On March 10, 2021, Mexico’s lower house voted for the legalization of recreational cannabis. However, the bill to legalize marijuana has been divisive among politicians, prompting delays in the Mexican Congress. Decriminalization is different from legalization, so now Congress faces added pressure to act upon the Mexcian Supreme Court’s second decision. 

Chelsie Spencer is a cannabis lawyer deeply involved in the marijuana, hemp, and CBD industries. With years of experience in various legal fields, her expertise in marijuana, hemp, and CBD law remains unrivaled. She also offers expertise and legal counsel in intellectual property law, as well as transactional matters. Contact Ritter Spencer Cheng or give us a call at214.295.5070 for more information.