Senators in Mexico asked the Supreme Court March 27 to extend an April 30 deadline for lawmakers to draft a bill to legalize and regulate cannabis for medical, adult and industrial uses, according to a Cannabis Wire report.
The legislation has been stalled since three Senate committees approved the legislation last month.
Both the Senate and the Supreme Court have suspended many legislative procedures until at least mid-April due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Cannabis Wire reported, and many lawmakers have indicated that this will cause them to miss deadlines to pass certain bills, including the cannabis legislation.
Sen. Patricia Mercado told Cannabis Wire that the suspension of the Supreme Court will likely mean a deadline extension on the cannabis bill, and said the deadline should be extended to May 30 to align with how long Supreme Court activities are suspended. However, she added there may be a chance that the Supreme Court could deem the Senate as an essential activity and mandate that lawmakers must meet the April 30 deadline.
In that case, Mercado told Cannabis Wire that the senators would hold electronic meetings to finalize the bill, which would then be sent to the Chamber of Deputies, Mexico’s lower house of Congress, for approval.
Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled last year that an absolute ban on adult-use cannabis was unconstitutional, forcing lawmakers to regulate it at the federal level. The Senate considered legislation last year to legalize and regulate cannabis for adult use, but lawmakers missed a Supreme Court-imposed deadline to pass the bill by the end of October, which prompted the deadline extension to April 30.
Whether lawmakers meet the April 30 deadline or not, Mercado told Cannabis Wire that she is hopeful that cannabis will still be legalized this year, saying it could be signed into law by September.