Marijuana legalization in Mexico looks hazy this year. While the country planned to legalize marijuana in October 2019, issues came up. After a lot of deadline extensions, the country was ready to legalize marijuana by the end of April 2020. However, the Mexican Supreme Court has extended the deadline again. The new deadline is partially due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So, marijuana legalization probably isn’t in the cards for Mexico in 2020.
Marijuana legalization delayed in Mexico again
Overall, it isn’t a surprise that COVID-19 has impacted marijuana legalization efforts. Many US states have suspended their marijuana campaigns due to not gathering enough signatures for the November ballot. In Mexico, deadline extensions have been going on for a while. Initially, the country planned to legalize marijuana in October last year.
The Senate received as many as 13 different proposals. A final comprehensive legal bill was ready in October 2019. However, Mexico missed the deadline. The Senate Committee thought that the bill would need more time to be reviewed. As a result, the Committee asked the Supreme Court to extend the deadline.
Negotiations and the final cannabis legalization bill appear to be an issue in Mexico. The new deadline is the end of April. However, the coronavirus pandemic is another problem. COVID-19 has put many things on hold. Right now, lawmakers aren’t focused on marijuana legalization. As a result, the Supreme Court extended the deadline again. Mexico won’t see marijuana legalization before December 15, which is the end of the next legislative session.
Progress made in Mexico till now
Even though the negotiations got delayed and deadlines got extended, Mexico has made some progress regarding legalization. A Marijuana Moment article discussed that a revised bill is ready. The Justice, Health, Legislative Studies, and Public Safety Committee members approved a revised bill. Under the revised bill:
- Adults 18 and older will be allowed to possess and cultivate marijuana for personal use.
- Individuals will be able to grow up to 20 registered plants. However, the total yield shouldn’t exceed 480 grams per year.
- The exception for medical patients will include the cultivation of more than 20 plants.
- Individuals can possess 28 grams of marijuana for personal use. Notably, possession of up to 200 grams will be decriminalized.
- A decentralized body called the “Mexican Institute of Regulation and Control of Cannabis” will regulate the market and issue licenses for cannabis businesses.
- There will be a 12% tax on cannabis sales.
- The revenue from cannabis sales will go to substance misuse treatment funds.
- Public consumption will be allowed in places that are 100% smoke-free.
- Hemp and CBD will be exempt from the regulations.
However, some activists aren’t happy about the changes. The initial bill introduced in October suggested enhancing social equity provisions, providing protections for cannabis consumers, and empowering domestic farmers. The activists think that lawmakers will try to include these objectives now that they have a new deadline.
Zara Snapp, a legalization activist with the Instituto RIA, said, “We hope that this will give them the time to take up this issue again in the fall and that they will be able to integrate the changes that we have recommended, including taking away the very high and expensive sanctions for certain activities such as smoking in public.”
Cannabis legalization efforts in the US
The pandemic has also impacted marijuana legalization efforts in the US. While some states have dropped their campaigns, some are looking at options to continue their legalization plans. Missouri dropped its legalization campaign. No marijuana legalization will take place in New York this year either. However, Arizona and South Dakota have successfully collected enough signatures. Their legalization plans will continue in 2020. On a federal level, many people think that Joe Biden should support marijuana legalization to attract young voters.
Meanwhile, the cannabis industry’s rollercoaster ride continues. Cannabis stocks were strong in March due to a rise in marijuana demand and sales amid the pandemic. Cannabis was declared as an “essential item,” which helped the stocks. However, OrganiGram’s (NASDAQ:OGI) disappointing second-quarter results and Aurora Cannabis’s (NYSE:ACB) reverse stock split decision impacted the stocks and the sector. Meanwhile, Aphria (NYSE:APHA) maintained its impressive performance in the third quarter. Canopy Growth (NYSE:CGC)(TSE:WEED) decided to close a few of its other facilities.
Analysts are skeptical about cannabis stocks. Many analysts are bearish on OrganiGram, while others have a mixed view of Aphria. Recently, Jefferies downgraded Tilray stock. The analyst thinks that the cannabis industry’s performance won’t be up to the original mark in 2020 due to COVID-19.
On April 17, Aphria closed with a gain of 0.84%, while OrganiGram closed 5.3% higher. Aurora Cannabis and Canopy Growth stock closed with gains of 3.2% and 4.3%, respectively.
Stay with us to learn more about the cannabis industry.