International

Mexico Signs Decree Legalizing Cannabis for Medical Purposes

By Whitney Abrams | June 23, 2017

On June 19, 2017, President Enrique Peña Nieto officially signed a decree confirming the legalization of the production and distribution of cannabis for medical purposes and scientific use in Mexico. The decree is available in Spanish here. This came after the Lower House of Congress passed the bill back in April.

The decree states, “the planting, cultivation or harvesting of marijuana plants will not be punishable when these activities are carried out for medical and scientific purposes in the terms and conditions of the authorization issued for that purpose by the Federal Executive”.

The decree indicates that Mexico’s Ministry of Health “shall design and implement public policies regulating the medicinal use of pharmacological derivatives of cannabis sativa, indica and cannabis or marijuana, including tetrahydrocannabinol, its isomers and stereochemcial variants, as well as how to regulate the research and national production of them”.

We have no real sense of what the regulatory framework and licensing process will look like at this early stage. However, it would be expected that Mexico’s Ministry of Health look to Canada’s Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations as a teaching tool.

The road to legalization in Mexico began in 2009 when the government decriminalized personal use and possession of cannabis of five grams or less. It continued in 2015, when the Mexican Supreme Court granted four people the right to grow their own cannabis for personal consumption. The Supreme Court held that the personal recreational use of cannabis was legal under the right of “free development of personality.” This however, only applied to the four plaintiffs involved. That decision effectively started a public conversation about legalization. Shortly after the release of that decision, the Mexican government held a national debate with respect to cannabis legalization. The government published scientific and academic papers and held public debates in different regions of the country that featured legal and medical experts and academics. Prior to the national debate, Nieto was vocal about his anti-legalization stance.

As has been the trend in other foreign countries like Germany, Brazil and Australia, it is more than likely that Canadian Licensed Producers (“LPs”) will be interested in participating in the Mexican cannabis market. Many Canadian LPs have stated their intentions of being global players in the cannabis market, including heavyweights like Aurora and Canopy Growth. It is probable that we will see partnerships that will include the export of Canadian cannabis and, beyond that, of knowledge that comes from years of operation and growth in the Canadian medical cannabis market.


Whitney Abrams

Whitney Abrams

Whitney’s work focuses on providing regulatory advice and advocating on behalf of cannabis businesses in the North American market. She is a frequent contributor to Canada Cannabis Legal.
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Comments (3)

  1. Jules:
    Dec 29, 2018 at 12:53 AM

    Fascinating article. Very in depth. My one question is: from where would Canada import cannabis? Are there countries currently exporting cannabis legally? Uraguay seems like the most economical source, although shipping costs could be an issue.

  2. miss lena:
    Feb 24, 2019 at 01:52 PM


    All labels will need to be plain, not appealing to children, and make no health claims. For edibles, there may be no dietary claims, and for topicals, there may be no cosmetic claims. For all of the new product classes, packaging and labelling must not contain any elements that associate the product with an alcoholic beverage, alcohol, or an alcohol brand.

  3. miss lena:
    Feb 24, 2019 at 01:52 PM

    All labels will need to be plain, not appealing to children, and make no health claims. For edibles, there may be no dietary claims, and for topicals, there may be no cosmetic claims. For all of the new product classes, packaging and labelling must not contain any elements that associate the product with an alcoholic beverage, alcohol, or an alcohol brand.






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