Mexico’s Lower House approves Marijuana for Medicinal Use

Posted by Sagar Satapathy on May 01, 2017.

In a major development, Mexico's Lower House of Congress overwhelmingly passed a bill on Friday that would legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes, scientific research, as well as production and distribution of marijuana for those two stated purposes across the country.

 The measure was passed with 371 lawmakers in favor, 7 against and 11 abstentions.

The bill sailed through the Senate in December and will now be sent to President Enrique Pena Nieto for his signature to make it a law in a country mired in brutal drug violence.

"The ruling eliminates the prohibition and criminalization of acts related to the medicinal use of marijuana and its scientific research, and those relating to the production and distribution of the plant for these purposes," the Lower House said in a statement.

The bill authorizes the Health Ministry to design regulations for the use, import and production of pharmaceutical products made from marijuana, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the plant's main psychoactive ingredient.

According to the new measure, marijuana products with one percent concentration of THC will be allowed for medicinal marijuana. But, it does not allow smoking marijuana.

In April, President Pena Nieto, once a vocal opponent of drug legalization, proposed legalizing medical marijuana in a major policy shift after his government organized forums to discuss changes to the laws.

The day Pena Nieto signs the bill to make a law, Mexico will join several US states and other nations in Latin America that allow marijuana for medical purposes.

Recreational marijuana is still widely prohibited in Mexico. However, the Supreme Court in 2015 granted four people the right to grow their own marijuana for personal consumption, opening the door to marijuana legalization for recreational purpose as well.

Rep. Rosa Alba Ramirez of the small Citizens’ Movement party stated that, “this is not opening the door for a general and unchecked consumption because it includes measures so the health department can ensure it is not being abused or distorted to widen it to recreational use.”

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