In the last couple of months, it has seemed likely that Mexico was going to meet their deadline to legalize cannabis. The deadline was imposed by the Supreme Court on October 31st, 2018, and a week before the 2019 deadline legislation had already been drafted and debated for over a month. Unfortunately, legislators still aren’t quite happy with the proposed law, and they asked the Supreme Court for an extension on their deadline. That deadline was granted on November 1st, giving lawmakers in Mexico an additional six months (until April 2020) to agree on and pass their legalization bill.
According to Senate leader Ricardo Monreal, lawmakers still intend to pass legislation within the first couple weeks of November. However, there is some concern that passing the legislation may take most of the six months allotted. Considering Mexico is preparing to legalize what many expect to be the largest legal adult-use cannabis market in the world thus far, it shouldn’t be rushed – but it shouldn’t be continuously delayed either. Hopefully, this is the only time that lawmakers look to extend their deadline.
The court did state that, “exceptionally and for one time only” and, considering the complexity of the issue, it grants an extension until April 30, 2020, for Mexico’s Congress to complete legislation,” according to Marijuana Business Daily.
One of the biggest concerns for those interested in entering Mexico’s cannabis industry is whether there will be a way for bigger businesses to do so. The proposed law focuses on helping small businesses run by farmers and low-income individuals over corporations – and Monreal says lawmakers won’t let big businesses’ complaints influence their vote or the legislation itself. This could be extremely beneficial for the country’s economy – but it might not be good news for bigger corporations that are interested in entering Mexico’s legal cannabis industry.
While there is concern that the length of the extension provided to the Mexican government will significantly delay legalization, there are incentives for it to be passed sooner. In October, Senator Julio Menchaca said that legal cannabis sales were expected to generate up to 18 billion pesos ($938 million USD) in tax revenue just in 2020. To get anywhere near meeting that expectation, they will need to still pass legislation by the end of the year so the market can be up and running within the year.
No matter how long it takes, Mexico is taking a huge step forward by legalizing cannabis for adult use.