Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto signed a decree this week legalizing medical marijuana following broad support in the Senate and Congress where the measure passed 347-7 in April. The Ministry of Health will draft and implement specific regulations covering the medicinal use of pharmacological derivatives of cannabis sativa, indica, and Americana or marijuana, including tetrahydrocannabinol after developing a research program to assess the drug’s impact.
Legalizing Medical Marijuana Latin America has long struggled to contain the violence and corruption associated with the illegal marijuana trade. Many countries have focused on decriminalization as a way to combat the problem, while countries like Uruguay have fully legalized the recreational and medical use of the drug. At the same time, the United States’ liberalized marijuana policies have helped reduce demand for the drug from these countries’ black markets.
Mexico has been reluctant to liberalize its marijuana policies because most of its citizens actually oppose decriminalization. With the country’s violent history, these citizens have trouble separating the cause and effect of marijuana laws on criminal enterprises. The Catholic Church has also remained very opposed to the idea of marijuana legalization in any form, which is a significant factor given the pervasiveness of Catholicism in the country.
President Enrique Pena Nieto has helped the country turn a corner, saying in April, “So far, the solutions [to control marijuana] implemented by the international community have been frankly insufficient. We must move beyond prohibition to effective prevention.” President Pena Nieto has since pioneered the belief that addiction should be thought of as a “public health problem” and that marijuana users shouldn’t be criminalized for their actions.
Despite the positive move forward, many medical marijuana advocates believe there’s still work to be done. Sen. Miguel Barbosa commented that the legislation was “well below the expectations of society” while Sen. Armando Rios Peter said it was a small step away from a failed drug policy. The details of the implementation also remain unclear until the Ministry of Health has an opportunity to refine how everything will operate.
Opportunities for Investors Medical Marijuana Inc. represents one of the premier opportunities in Mexico’s newly legalized medical marijuana industry. In February 2016, the company’s RSHO-X™ products received the first-ever government permit to import a cannabis-derived product to treat a severe form of epilepsy. The company has since begun exporting its products to several countries throughout Latin America to treat many medical conditions.
“We are extremely proud to have been the first company to provide Mexico citizens with access to a medical product based on cannabis (THC-free hemp CBD) and applaud President Neito and Mexico lawmakers for their commitment to cannabis reform,” said Medical Marijuana Inc. CEO Dr. Stuart Titus. “We look forward to continuing our support of Mexico as it moves forward with this new era of medical cannabis for those in need.”
Mexico’s move to legalize medical marijuana could also prompt other Latin American countries to follow the same course and perhaps move the needle in the United States — especially since Canada and Mexico both have medical marijuana laws in place now. These developments could further bolster the company’s business as it works to expand access to its products throughout the world and in the United States where it bases its operations.
“With medical cannabis fully legal in Canada and now in Mexico, we wonder how long it will be before the United States joins the rest of North America in reforming laws at the national/federal level,” added Dr. Titus. “With 30 U.S. States approving medical cannabis and 17 others with CBD-only laws, we feel the real crime in this matter is the lack of progressive leadership shown by our own federal government. The science 100% supports this, the people fully support this, and the opioid crisis is totally out of control. We, the people, demand answers from our leaders.”
With existing export licenses in place, Medical Marijuana Inc. has already built a relationship with Mexico’s health authority as it works to implement laws governing the use and distribution of medical marijuana products. These regulations could open the door to many more products down the line.