Twenty-six senators voted in favor of the legislation at a joint meeting of the Justice, Health and Legislative Committees, while seven senators voted against it and eight abstained, the news outlet reported.
The bill would make changes to Mexico’s Federal Health Law and federal criminal code to legalize up to 28 grams of cannabis for personal use by adults, and would allow patients to grow up to 20 plants for medical use with permission from the Mexican Cannabis Institute, a new government department that has not yet launched, according to Mexico News Daily.
Under the legislation, cannabis possession would not be a drug trafficking offense until it involves more than 200 grams, the news outlet reported, and, in the first five years of legalization, 40% of the available cannabis production licenses will be awarded to applicants who live in communities impacted by drug trafficking.
The bill will be debated in another meeting of the three Senate committees, Mexico Daily News reported, as well as in a plenary session of the upper house. A vote is expected as soon as next week, according to the news outlet, and then, to become law, the legislation would have to be ratified by the lower house and promulgated by President López Obrador.
Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled last year that an absolute ban on adult-use cannabis was unconstitutional, which forced lawmakers to regulate it at the federal level.
The Senate considered legislation last year to legalize and regulate adult-use cannabis, but lawmakers missed a Supreme Court-imposed deadline to pass the bill by the end of October. The Supreme Court has extended this deadline to April 30.