Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto confirmed that Mexico has legalized cannabis for medicinal use.
Following overwhelming support from Congress, the medical marijuana bill was passed with a significant majority.
The legislation received a 347-7 vote in favor of its approval.
Mexico’s Secretary of Health, Dr. José Narro Robles, voiced his support for the measure, saying, “I welcome the approval of the therapeutic use of cannabis in Mexico.”
“The ruling eliminates the prohibition and criminalization of acts related to the medicinal use of marijuana and its scientific research and those relating to the production and distribution of the plant for these purposes,” according to the Lower House of Parliament.
Peña Nieto, who previously opposed the legalization of cannabis, called for a re-examination of global drug policy after a 2016 nationwide public debate on legalization.
“So far, the solutions (to control drugs and crime) implemented by the international community have been frankly insufficient,” Peña Nieto said while addressing the United Nations General Assembly Special Sessions in April 2016.
“We must move beyond prohibition to effective prevention.”
Last year, the president enacted a motion for provisional leniency that would allow Mexican citizens to possess up to an ounce of cannabis without repercussions. But, the bill stalled in Congress.
The decree was issued by the president and specifies that the Ministry of Health will be tasked with drafting and implementing the regulations of tetrahydrocannabinol, its isomers and stereochemical variants, as well as the research and national production of them.
Currently, the only cannabis that will be permitted must contain 1 percent or less of tetrahydrocannabinol.
Additionally, the Ministry of Health will be required to study the medicinal and therapeutic effects of cannabis before creating the framework for a medical marijuana program infrastructure.
Peña Nieto’s decree effectively eliminates the criminalization of the medicinal use of cannabis, THC, CBD, and all cannabis derivatives. It also legalizes the production and distribution of cannabis for medicinal and therapeutic uses.