Mexico might be the third country after Uruguay and Canada to legalize the consumption of cannabis.
Mexico’s Senate approved with 82 votes in favour, 18 against y seven abstentions the Law to Regulate the Consumption of Cannabis. Although the Chamber of Deputies (Lower Chamber) still needs to discuss and approve the decriminalization of recreational or adult use of marijuana, this Thursday, the ruling advanced in the Senate.
In general and in particular, the Upper House approved tonight to decriminalize the personal use of marijuana. If the opinion is approved by the deputies, people will be able to carry up to 28 grams of the herb and have six to eight marijuana plants in their homes without ending up in jail.
Here are some key points of the document approved this afternoon by the Senate and sent to the lower chamber for discussion.
1.- People over 18 years of age will be allowed to consume psychoactive cannabis.
2.- Possession for self-consumption went from five to 28 grams; from 28 and 200 grams, it is considered simple possession and merits administrative penalties or fines; From 201 grams to 28 kilos, it is considered possession with intent of dealing and from 28 kilos onwards, it will be considered drug trafficking.
3.- Six cannabis plants for personal consumption; eight if more than two consumers live in the same house.
4.- Release of people prosecuted or sentenced for simple possession. Also, within a period of six months from the entry into force of the decree, their criminal record must be expunged.
5.- Should come into force in six months, a national program for the prevention and treatment of addictions must be developed, emphasizing the non-consumption of psychoactive and non-psychoactive cannabis focused on children and adolescents.
6.- The document also prohibits the consumption of marijuana in all establishments where the consumption of tobacco is also prohibited. It is also established that there will be penalties for those who consume in open places where children and adolescents can access.
Amid applause and displaying banners with the legend “No to criminalization, yes to freedom” and with the noise of alarm clocks with the message “It’s time,” the Senate of the Republic approved this afternoon the decriminalization of adult, industrial use and for marijuana research.
The discussion in the Plenary of the Senate took place between those who assured that the decriminalization would facilitate the access of children and adolescents to marijuana and other drugs, on the one hand; and on the other, those who assured that it was a matter of Human Rights and it would stop criminalizing users.
The majority of the votes against decriminalization were from the parliamentary group of the conservative National Action Party (PAN). The party argued that, with this measure, Mexico approves the opening of the drug market and the liberalization of sales.
Critics mentioned that consumer rights are not being guaranteed in this initiative, and yet the Canadian industry is being privileged. There are contradictions because there is a decriminalization, but a crime is maintained after a certain threshold.
Others considered that this regulation is not ideal and that a mistake is made by not fully decriminalizing cannabis, by keeping the plant, consumers and producers among the subjects of criminal penalties.
One option was to eliminate the crime of simple possession of cannabis from illicit substances in Mexico.
The opinion, prepared by Morena, the governing party, maintains that the regularization of cannabis starts from recognizing a human right that is the free development of the personality, which, in the face of a prohibitionist system such as the current one, sees its effectiveness undermined. She also said that the ruling contributes to reducing violence and insecurity linked to drug trafficking.
The regulation is not a synonym of an absolute release of the plant and its derivatives or of the market that provides them, but of the regulation of certain acts that imply their exclusive use for certain purposes with control parameters and State intervention through international rules and standards.