Goodbye to the prohibitionist model, Mexico approves the first bill to legalize cannabis
The Senate opinion on the regulation of marijuana – which circulated yesterday among legislators of the Health, Justice and Second Legislative Studies commissions, with an opinion of Security and which is intended to endorse before October 31 – seeks to allow That cannabis is used for medical, scientific, recreational, recreational and industrial purposes.
The Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN), since 2015, has resolved six Amparos on the recreational use of cannabis. In its sentences, it has determined that the absolute prohibition of its consumption is unconstitutional since it violates the right to the free development of the personality. The highest Mexican court of justice established as a deadline this October 24 to legislate and publish the new regulatory framework for the use of marijuana in the country. After reviewing almost 70 initiatives, the competent commissions of the Senate of the Republic reached a consensus to finally approve a bill. Although this does not fully fulfill the mandate of the Court, it is the first step for regularization.
Mexico will enter the line of countries that allow the use of cannabis for medicinal, recreational, scientific and industrial purposes; authorizing people to store it, use it, market it, consume it, harvest it, distribute it, advertise it, package it, label it, export it, import it, plant it, carry it, transport it, prepare it and acquire it under any title.
The Commissions of Justice, Health, Second Legislative Studies, considering the opinion of the Public Security Commission of the Senate, approved the opinion of the Draft Law for the Regulation of Cannabis, which consists of 74 articles. In addition, they seek to reform and added devices of the General Health Law, the Federal Criminal Code, the Federal Law against Organized Crime and the Special Tax Law on Production and Services, for the recognition thereof.
The project allows the creation of associations for its consumption and cultivation, in addition to the possession of up to four cannabis plants per person. In the case of households with more than five members, the limit of 20 plants is established.
The distribution of products with percentages greater than those provided is prohibited; regulates marketing packaging for marketing and authorizes, for persons of legal age and commercial companies, the production of medicines with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
The document establishes four types of licenses, excluding each other, that is, that only one of them can be applied for per person, per society or for family ties up to the fourth consanguineous degree. These are cultivated, which includes the acquisition of seeds and seedlings; of transformation, to manufacture products; of sale, for merchants who are up to date with the payment of their taxes and export and import licenses.
Among the restrictions, the bill determines that incumbent merchants will only have permission to establish themselves at three different points per federative entity. Growing licenses will only be granted to associations constituted before public notaries, which are also made up of a minimum of two and a maximum of 20 people, belonging to a single group. Associations must present a risk reduction protocol for attention to problematic consumption. The law limits the participation of foreign capital to 20% of capital in commercial companies.
A modification to the General Health Law empowers the Ministry of Health in coordination with what will be the Mexican Cannabis Institute, to regulate the sanitary control for its legal use.
The demand for Amparo of Carlos Avilés Garfias of 15 years, with multiple disabilities and a diagnosis of West syndrome (childhood epileptic encephalopathy, treatable with medical cannabis), evidenced that the Mexican Government ignored by not regulating the medical use of marijuana. Since 2017, through a law, specific research and development competencies had been arranged for the publication of a regulation that was not made.
The Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation had already resolved six Amparos that had to do with the use of marijuana, but that of Carlos Aviles Garfias was the first related to medicinal use. Before he turned 13, the child was given monthly doses of up to 385 tablets of four different medications. A neurologist recommended that he be treated with CBD pharmacological oil, derived from cannabis, and when presenting improvements, his medical prescription varied requiring the implementation of 0.3% THC.
When deciding its protection, the Supreme Court gave a period of 180 days for the publication of the regulation in debt and ordered that the government be responsible for supplying the medicines with THC to the child, as a guarantee of the right to access to health. Although the deadline is not yet met, the previous Amparos that were resolved by the SCJN also gave deadlines for new regulations that have already come to an end.
It was the mother of Carlos Aviles who filed the Amparo lawsuit against the authorities that failed to regulate the medicinal use of cannabis in the country.
The first antecedent to understand the case is the General Health Law, published in June 2017. It established the regulation of the use of medications with up to 1% THC in its compounds. THC was then considered as a minor public health problem because of its wide therapeutic uses
The law determined that the General Health Council would be responsible for knowing, from the national investigation, the therapeutic value for the production of marijuana-derived drugs and, with its conclusions, the Ministry of Health could harmonize the regulations.
Although this harmonization did not exist, in October 2018 the Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risks (Cofepris) took the initiative to issue the “Guidelines on health control of cannabis and its derivatives”, so that the authority Sanitary will evaluate the goods of cannabis content. The guidelines were revoked in March of this year because they were issued without considering the technical opinion of other competent authorities. The document was, finally, proof that the government did not do its job to harmonize, with research, the medicinal use of THC
Chronology of the Amparos seen by the SCJN
1. Amparo 237/2014 . Resolved on November 4, 2015, by the First Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation. The right to free personality development is considered. The sentence authorizes the planting, cultivation, harvest, possession, transport and personal consumption of marijuana, in a playful way, for those who had promoted the protection
2. Amparo 1115/2017. It is the second resolution in favor of the recreational and personal use of marijuana, the sentence is issued in the same terms as the previous one. The matter was resolved on April 11, 2017.
3. Amparo 623/2017. With the judgment of June 13, 2018, the First Chamber grants a third permit for the recreational use of marijuana. The particularity of this matter is that the acquisition of cannabis seed is also authorized, considering that it does not cause any health effects
4. Amparo 1163/2017. This Amparo was resolved by the Second Chamber on July 4, 2018. The sentence allows three people to acquire marijuana seeds, as well as any personal consumption action for recreational purposes.
5. Amparos 547/2018 and 548/2018. On October 31, 2018, for the fifth time, the First Chamber reiterated the unconstitutionality of the absolute prohibition of the recreational use of marijuana.
6. Amparo 57/2019. For the first time, the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation decides on the medicinal use of cannabis and does so through the Second Chamber. This is the case of the minor Carlos Avilés Garfias.
With the rulings of these Amparos, resolved in the same sense, the Supreme Court has established eight theses of constitutional jurisprudence that can be consulted here.
Overview of international legislation
Medical associations have denounced that the laws around the use of marijuana, for medicinal purposes, are not considering setting limits on companies that profit from various diagnoses. According to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), medical cannabis provides greater benefits than longterm harm. The most favored are patients diagnosed with Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (early refractory epilepsy), terminal cancer, Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), multiple sclerosis and the effects of chemotherapies such as nausea and vomiting
The National Socialist Association of German Physicians, for example, does not recommend the prescription of medical cannabis due to the lack of evidence to prove its effectiveness and possible damage. In the region, doctors in Chile have raised their voices so that the Senate does not neglect the perception of risk due to the increase inaccessibility. They have demanded a regulatory framework that protects the population against dangers greater than their medicinal benefits. Mexican legislation, as the bill plants, leaves the door open for companies to offer their products for all types of diseases, without considering the long-term adverse effects
Source: lexlatin, el imparcial, milenio
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