MEXICO CITY - Mexico’s health ministry on Tuesday published rules to manage the utilization of medicinal cannabis, a serious step during a broader reform to make the world’s largest legal cannabis market within the Latin American country.
The new regulation was signed off by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, and can now allow pharmaceutical companies to start doing medical research on cannabis products. The cannabis reform happening includes the recreational use of marijuana, and can create what would be the world’s biggest national cannabis market in terms of population.
The new medicinal rules state companies which wish to hold out research need to obtain permission from the Mexican health regulator, COFEPRIS, and this research has got to be wiped out strictly controlled, independent laboratories.
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“The standard of regulation is extremely , very high,” said Luisa Conesa, a lawyer and pro-cannabis activist who spearheaded legal challenges that led to decriminalization of medical cannabis.
“(The regulation) isn't aimed toward patients growing their own cannabis, it's aimed toward pharmaceutical companies producing pharmaceutical derivatives of cannabis which are classified as controlled substances that require prescription," he said.
The regulation also sets rules for the sowing, cultivation and harvesting of cannabis for medicinal purposes, which might allow businesses to grow marijuana legally on Mexican soil.
While some cannabis plant imports are permitted for companies looking to make products, exports of Mexican-grown cannabis is prohibited.
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Foreign weed companies from Canada and therefore the us are watching Mexico with interest. Many had delayed making investment decisions thanks to policy uncertainty and were expecting the ultimate regulation to be published.
Mexico’s lawmakers also are within the final stages of legalizing recreational use of marijuana, with the bill expected to pass within the next period of Congress.
The legislation marks a serious shift during a country bedeviled for years by violence between feuding drug cartels, which have long made many dollars growing marijuana illegally and smuggling it into the US.