The Justice Committee of the Senate in Mexico has voted to approve the amended cannabis legalization bill as referred to the upper House by the Chamber of Deputies. This approval means that the bill now has to be cleared by two more Senate committees before it is sent to the floor for a final vote. That final floor vote is expected to happen this month.
On Monday, the Justice Committee passed the bill with a 6 to 5 vote; the panel didn’t make any changes to the bill that was sent back to Senate after the lower legislative chamber made changes to the version passed by Senate in December. It is generally expected that the remaining two Senate panels will not make any changes to this current form of the bill either, regardless of the voices of advocates calling for some sections to be revised.
For example, advocates had wanted the proposed law to have a provision ring-fencing a certain percentage of licenses for communities that had been worst hit during the futile drug war. This wasn’t included in the bill sent to Senate. Advocates are also unhappy that people who would like to grow cannabis at home will have to register with the government.
However, the Chamber of Deputies did make some amendments to the bill before passing it. The lower legislative chamber opted to place control of the cannabis industry in the hands of an existing government agency instead of creating a new agency.
The Deputies also passed a change stipulating that land currently occupied by forests would not be allocated for the cultivation of marijuana. Of concern to advocates is the change increasing the penalties for marijuana-related crimes. Campaigners feel that those stringent penalties could undo the social justice benefits of legalizing cannabis.
While there are still some disagreements regarding the contents of the cannabis legalization bill, most lawmakers, such as Senator Eduardo R. Aguilar, who is a member of the party in power, remarked that it was crucial that marijuana is legalized now and any needed changes can be made later once a law is in place.
Aguilar’s position can be looked at from the context of the looming Supreme Court-imposed deadline giving the lawmakers up to the end of this month to pass legislation enabling the recreational use of marijuana. Earlier in 2018, the highest court in the country had declared the prohibition of recreational cannabis use as unconstitutional. Consequently, it tasked the legislators with making the needed policy changes; however, lawmakers kept asking for deadline extensions, and the current extension runs out at the end of this month.
As the legalization wave sweeps through different jurisdictions, cannabis sector players will have to identify a winning formula that will keep them afloat when the competition magnifies. For instance, Pac Roots Cannabis Corp. (CSE: PACR) (OTCQB: PACRF) (FSE: 4XM) thinks its strength lies in leveraging top-notch genetics, and the Canadian company is pursuing that approach.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Pac Roots Cannabis Corp. (CSE: PACR) (OTCQB: PACRF) (FSE: 4XM) are available in the company’s newsroom at http://cnw.fm/PACR
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