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Mexican Senators Circulate Draft Marijuana Legalization Bill, With Vote Expected Within Weeks

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A draft bill to legalize and regulate marijuana sales in Mexico is being circulated among senators, and a top lawmaker says the plan is to vote on the proposal before December 15.

While the legislation hasn’t been formally introduced yet, the draft measure largely reflects an earlier version the Senate passed late last year, with some revisions.

Senate Majority Leader Ricardo Monreal Avila of the ruling MORENA party has been pushing for the reform and recently said that there’s agreement among leading lawmakers to prioritize legislation to regulate cannabis.

The Mexican Supreme Court declared nearly three years ago that the country鈥檚聽prohibition on the personal possession and cultivation of cannabis was unconstitutional. Lawmakers were then obligated to enact the policy change but have since been unable to reach a consensus on legislation to put in place regulations for a marijuana program.

At the request of legislators, the court agreed to extend its deadline for Congress to formally end prohibition on multiple occasions. But because of the聽repeated failed attempts to meet those deadlines, justices聽ultimately voted to end criminalization on their own聽in June.

Monreal previously said that聽the stage is set for lawmakers to聽actually pass a marijuana legalization bill聽during the new session after multiple attempts in recent years fell short of getting over the finish line.

Under the draft bill that’s currently being circulated, adults 18 and older would be allowed to purchase and possess up to 28 grams of marijuana and cultivate up to six plants for personal use.

Members of the Senate Health and Justice Committees were tapped to formulate the draft of a cannabis bill.

The text of the measure states that the purpose of the reform is to promote “public health, human rights and sustainable development” and to “improve the living conditions of the people who live in the United Mexican States.”

It would further “prevent and combat the consequences of problematic consumption of psychoactive cannabis and contribute to the reduction of the crime incidence linked to drug trafficking, promoting peace, security and individual and community well-being.”

Regulators would be tasked with developing separate rules to regulate cannabis for adult-use, research and industrial production.

The bill would establish a Mexican Institute for the Regulation and Control of Cannabis, which would be a decentralized body under the Ministry of Health. It would also be responsible for issuing licenses, overseeing the program and promoting public education campaigns around marijuana.

Retail licenses would need to be issued within 18 months of the enactment of the law.

In order to “compensate the damages generated by the prohibition,” the bill states that at least 40 percent of marijuana cultivation licenses would need to go to communities most impacted by cannabis criminalization for at least the first five years of implementation. After that point, at least 20 percent of licenses would need to be reserved for equity applicants.

After the Supreme Court independently invalidated prohibition earlier this year, advocates stressed that the decision underscores the need for legislators to expeditiously pass a measure to implement a comprehensive system of legal and regulated sales. They want to ensure that a market is established that鈥檚 equitable, addresses the harms of criminalization on certain communities and promotes personal freedom.

Advocates are pleased to see Senate leadership take seriously the need to establish regulations and provide access to cannabis for adults, but they have identified some provisions as problematic.

For example, possessing more than 200 grams of marijuana could still result in prison time.

Senate President Olga S谩nchez Cordero, who previously served at a cabinet-level position in President Andr茅s Manuel L贸pez Obrador鈥檚 administration, recently said that 鈥渢here is no longer room for the prohibitionist policy.鈥 And she also says the influence of the U.S. is to blame for failed marijuana criminalization laws in her country.

The Senate approved a legalization bill late last year, and then the Chamber of Deputies聽made revisions and passed it in March, sending it back to the originating chamber. A couple of Senate committees then聽took up and cleared the amended measure, but leaders quickly started signaling聽that certain revisions made the proposal unworkable.

After the Chamber of Deputies previously approved the Senate-passed legalization bill, senators said that the revised proposal was critically internally conflicted鈥攐n provisions concerning legal possession limits, the definition of hemp and other issues鈥攁nd lawmakers themselves could be subject to criminal liability if it went into effect as drafted.

But Monreal said in April that if the court were to make a declaration of unconstitutionality before a measure to regulate cannabis was approved, it would result in 鈥渃haos.鈥

The top senator also talked about the importance of lawmakers taking their time to craft good policy and not rush amidst lobbying from tobacco and pharmaceutical industry interests.

鈥淲e must not allow ourselves to be pressured by interests,鈥 he said at the time. 鈥淭he Senate must act with great prudence in this matter.鈥

Sen. Eduardo Ram铆rez Aguilar of the MORENA party said in April that 鈥渁t this time,聽it is important to legislate in the terms that are presented to us鈥 and then consider additional revisions to cannabis laws through subsequent bills.

That鈥檚 the position many legalization advocates took as well, urging lawmakers to pass an imperfect bill immediately and then work on fixing it later.

Mexico’s president said in December that a vote on legalization legislation was delayed due to minor 鈥渕istakes鈥 in the proposal.

The legalization bill聽cleared a joint group of Senate committees聽prior to the full floor vote in that chamber last year, with some amendments being made after members informally聽considered and debated the proposal聽during a virtual hearing.

Members of the Senate鈥檚 Justice, Health, and Legislative Studies Committees had聽approved a prior version of legal cannabis legislation聽last year as well, but the pandemic delayed consideration of the issue. Sen. Julio Ram贸n Menchaca Salazar of the MORENA party said in April that legalizing cannabis could聽fill treasury coffers at a time when the economy is recovering from the health crisis.

As lawmakers work to advance the reform legislation, there鈥檚 been a more lighthearted push to focus attention on the issue by certain members and activists. That push has mostly involved planting and gifting marijuana.

Late last year, S谩nchez Cordero, then a top administration official, was聽gifted a cannabis plant by senator聽on the Senate floor, and she said she鈥檇 be making it a part of her personal garden.

A different lawmaker聽gave S谩nchez Cordero, a marijuana joint聽on the floor of the Chamber of Deputies in 2019. That joint is now framed and hangs in her office.

Cannabis made another appearance in the legislature last year, when Sen. Jesusa Rodr铆guez of the MORENA party聽decorated her desk with a marijuana plant.

Drug policy reform advocates have also been cultivating hundreds of marijuana plants in front of the Senate, putting pressure on legislators to make good on their pledge to advance legalization.

Read the draft marijuana legalization bill that’s being circulated in Mexico’s Senate below:聽

Click to access texto-normativo-para-nueva-iniciativa-1.pdf

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Bipartisan Pennsylvania Senators File Bill To Let Medical Marijuana Patients Grow Their Own Plants

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A bipartisan group of Pennsylvania senators introduced a bill on Thursday that would allow medical marijuana patients to cultivate their own plants for personal use.

Sens. Dan Laughlin (R) and Sharif Street (D) first announced their intent to file the legislation in November, arguing that it is a necessary reform to ensure patient access by giving people a less costly alternative to buying from dispensaries.

Registered patients who are 21 and older, and who have been residents of the state for at least 30 days, could grow up to six plants in an 鈥渆nclosed and locked space鈥 at their residence, according to the text of the bill. They would be allowed to buy cannabis seeds from licensed dispensaries

 

In an earlier cosponsorship memo for the new home grow bill, the lawmakers said that letting patients cultivate their own medicine would 鈥渉elp ease the cost and accessibility burdens for this important medicine.”

The new legislation has three other initial cosponsors in addition to Street and Laughlin.

Street had attempted to get the reform enacted as an amendment to an omnibus bill this summer,聽but it did not advance.

The senators argue that patients in particular are deserving of a home grow option, as some must currently travel hours to visit a licensed dispensary and there are financial burdens that could be alleviated if patients could grow their own plants for medicine.

Late last year, Laughlin and Street also unveiled a separate adult-use legalization proposal that faces significant challenges in the GOP-controlled legislature. And Street is behind another recent cannabis measure to provide state-level protections to banks and insurers that work with cannabis businesses.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,000 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments.

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In the interim, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D), who is running for U.S. Senate this year, said one of his key goals in his final year in office is to ensure that as many eligible people as possible submit聽applications聽to have the courts聽remove their cannabis records and restore opportunities聽to things like housing, student financial aid and employment through an expedited petition program.

Pennsylvania lawmakers could also take up more modest marijuana reform proposals like a bill filed late last year to聽expand the number of medical marijuana cultivators聽in the state, prioritizing small farms to break up what she characterized as a monopoly or large corporations that鈥檚 created supply problems.

Rep. Amen Brown (D) separately聽announced his intent to file a legalization bill聽that he鈥檒l be working on with聽Sen. Mike Regan (R), who expressed his support for the policy change a day earlier.

Additionally, another pair of state lawmakers鈥擱eps. Jake Wheatley (D) and Dan Frankel (D)鈥formally unveiled a legalization bill they鈥檙e proposing聽last year.

Philadelphia voters also聽approved a referendum on marijuana legalization聽in November that adds a section to the city charter saying that 鈥渢he citizens of Philadelphia call upon the Pennsylvania General Assembly and the Governor to pass legislation that will decriminalize, regulate, and tax the use, and sale to adults aged 21 years or older, of cannabis for non-medical purposes.鈥

Gov. Tom Wolf (D)聽said last year that marijuana legalization was a priority聽as he negotiated the annual budget with lawmakers. However, his formal spending request didn鈥檛 contain legislative language to actually accomplish the cannabis policy change.

The governor, who signed聽a medical cannabis expansion bill in June, has repeatedly called for legalization and聽pressured the Republican-controlled legislature to pursue the reform聽since聽coming out in favor of the policy in 2019. Shortly after he did that, a lawmaker filed a separate bill to聽legalize marijuana through a state-run model.

A survey from Franklin & Marshall College released last year found that聽60 percent of Pennsylvania voters back adult-use legalization. That鈥檚 the highest level of support for the issue since the firm started polling people about it in 2006.

An attempt to provide protections for Pennsylvania medical marijuana patients from being charged with driving under the influence聽was derailed in the legislature last year, apparently due to pushback by the state police association.

Nebraska Activists Say New GOP Medical Marijuana Bill Is A ‘Poison Pill’ Meant To Detract From Ballot Efforts

Photo courtesy of Mike Latimer.

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Minnesota Democratic Leaders Preview Marijuana Legalization Plan For 2022

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Minnesota Democratic leaders are preparing for another push to legalize marijuana this session, with the sponsor of the House-passed reform bill saying he will be reworking the legislation in an effort to build further support鈥攖hough it continues to face an uphill climb in the GOP-controlled Senate.

House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler (D) and Senate Minority Leader Melisa Franzen (D) discussed the legislative strategy during a roundtable event hosted by the Minnesota Hemp Growers Cooperative on Wednesday.

Winkler said that his bill, which moved through 12 committees before being approved on the House floor last year, is the “product of hundreds of hours of work involving thousands of people’s input, countless hearings and public listening sessions鈥攂ut it is not a perfect bill.”

“As we look ahead to this session…our goal is to go back and reexamine provisions of the bill,” he said. Licensing structures, public safety and substance misuse concerns are among the issues that lawmakers will be looking at to improve upon the legislation.

“We will be working with our colleagues in the Minnesota Senate,” Winkler added. “We’re interested in pursuing legalization to make sure that the bill represents senators’ priorities for legalization as well.”

The leader said that “any effort this year that would be successful would require Republican support as well.”

But while advocates are encouraged to hear that the House may again vote to pass the legalization legislation, the Senate minority leader tempered expectations about the bill’s prospects in her Republican-run chamber.

“Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s a path to legalization this year in the Minnesota Senate,” Franzen said. “It’s controlled by the Republican party, and they have there’s a few members who are really adamantly opposed to legalization.”

Gov. Tim Walz (D) is supportive of cannabis legalization, and while the broad reform didn’t advance last session, he did sign a bill to聽expand the state鈥檚 medical marijuana program, in part by allowing patients to access smokable cannabis products.

Winkler said on Wednesday that “it was because of the work done” by advocates on legalization that put pressure on Senate Republicans to advance that legislation.

Another cannabis issue playing out in Minnesota concerns CBD. The state agriculture department and pharmacy board have increased enforcement against the sale of the non-intoxicating cannabinoid in recent months, prompting calls for legislative reform.

Winkler said that the political dynamics around legalization that led to the expansion of the state’s medical cannabis program will be “a template for how we will address challenges with CBD this year.”

“My staff is working very closely with advocates, working with senators, working with other House members to get in a repair for the CBD industry, and I have every confidence that we will be able to do that with your help,” he said.

A poll conducted by Minnesota lawmakers that was released last year found that 58 percent of residents are in favor of legalization. That鈥檚 a modest increase聽compared to the chamber鈥檚 2019 survey, which showed 56 percent support.

Winkler said in 2020 that if Senate Republicans don鈥檛 go along with the policy change legislatively, he hopes they will at least let voters decide on cannabis聽as a 2022 ballot measure.

Rhode Island Governor Includes Marijuana Legalization And Expungements In Budget Request

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Nebraska Activists Say New GOP Medical Marijuana Bill Is A ‘Poison Pill’ Meant To Detract From Ballot Efforts

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A Republican Nebraska senator introduced a bill on Thursday that ostensibly seeks to legalize medical marijuana in the state鈥攂ut activists have raised concerns that the restrictive measure may be an attempt to subvert an effort to pass even broader patient protections on the 2022 ballot.

Sen. Mike Groene (R) filed the legislation, which would allow certain patients to buy and possess cannabis oils, pills and up to two and a half ounces of flower at a limited number of dispensaries. Smoking or inhaling marijuana would be banned, however, as would making edibles鈥攕o it’s not clear how patients would consume the flower they could possess.

But the main problem is, the bill would maintain that cultivating marijuana in Nebraska for commercial or personal use is illegal, meaning dispensaries wouldn’t even have a legal means of obtaining cannabis products for patients.

The bill is also severely restrictive in terms of who would qualify for cannabis. It would only permit access to people with stage IV cancer, uncontrolled seizures, severe muscle spasms caused by multiple sclerosis or muscular dystrophy or a terminal illness with less than a one year probable life expectancy.

It’s being backed by the Nebraska chapter of the prohibitionist group Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), leading some advocates to suspect that the lack of cultivation provisions is designed to be a “poison pill” while misleading voters into thinking that there is a good faith effort to legalize medical cannabis legislatively.

鈥淭his appears to be a political stunt,” Jared Moffat, state campaigns manager at the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a press release. “Opponents of medical cannabis know there is a viable campaign to put medical cannabis on the ballot, and they know Nebraskans will overwhelmingly support that effort.”

“This is an attempt to take our focus away from that,” he said. “But it won鈥檛 succeed because it鈥檚 clear that this proposal is not a good faith effort to find some middle ground on the issue.”

The bill comes as Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana (NMM) continues to work to collect signatures for a pair of medical cannabis legalization initiatives that advocates hope to place on the November ballot. They have until July to collect 87,000 valid signatures to qualify each of their complementary measures.

Activists with the group collected enough signatures to qualify a medical marijuana legalization measure for the 2020 ballot, but the state Supreme Court invalidated it, finding that the proposal violated the single-subject rule for citizen initiatives.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,000 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments.

Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.

Now this legislation from Groene is entering the mix for the 2022 session. And SAM Nebraska co-chair John Kuehn told The Lincoln Journal-Star that it’s “a good faith effort and we are willing to look at this as an acceptable alternative to creating a marijuana industry in the state of Nebraska.”

While advocates aren’t necessarily buying that argument given that it would authorize dispensaries without providing the ability to cultivate marijuana products, some like NMM co-chair Sen. Anna Wishart (D) are willing to work with the senator to get the bill into a more acceptable shape for patients.

鈥淚t would be the status quo,鈥 Wishart said. 鈥淚 want a safe system, but there are practical realities patients are living with every day. No one wants a system that doesn鈥檛 work.鈥

Notably, Groene did support a procedural motion to advance Wishart’s more expansive medical cannabis bill last session.

Jane Kleeb, chair of the Nebraska Democrats, pounced on the restrictive nature of Groene’s bill and said it makes it “not easy or feasible for most” to obtain a medical cannabis recommendation from a doctor.

Shari Lawlor, a member of Nebraska Families for Medical Cannabis, said that the group is “grateful that Sen. Groene recognizes the importance of medical cannabis,” but as drafted, “this is a medical cannabis bill with no cannabis.”

鈥淚t envisions a system with dispensaries but no farmers or cultivators who actually produce the medical cannabis that patients need,” she said. “And since patients are not allowed to cultivate medical cannabis themselves under this proposal, there is effectively no way for patients to get the relief they need.”

Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) is no fan of legalization. He partnered with SAM Nebraska on a recent ad urging residents to oppose cannabis reform in the state. Given the organization’s support for this new GOP proposal, there’s some suspicion that he might back it to give the appearance that the administration isn’t deaf to calls for reform by voters.

Advocates aren’t going to be deterred by the bill’s introduction. They will be moving forward with the complementary medical cannabis initiatives in hopes to getting the issue to voters.

The campaign deliberately chose to take a bifurcated approach because of the state Supreme Court invalidation over the single-subject rule.

One of the statutory initiatives would establish legal protections for patients and doctors around cannabis, while the other would allow private companies to produce and sell medical marijuana products.

Lawmakers attempted to advance medical cannabis reform legislatively last year, but while the unicameral legislature debated a bill to legalize medical marijuana in May, it failed to advance past a filibuster聽because the body didn鈥檛 have enough votes to overcome it.

Wishart and NMM co-chair Sen. Adam Morfeld (D) announced in late 2020 that they would also work to put the question of legalizing marijuana for adult use before voters in 2022. But for now their focus appears to be on the medical cannabis effort.

For what it鈥檚 worth, Nebraska鈥檚 attorney general argued in an opinion in 2019 that efforts to legalize medical marijuana legislatively in the state聽would be preempted by federal law聽and 鈥渨ould be, therefore, unconstitutional.鈥

Rhode Island Governor Includes Marijuana Legalization And Expungements In Budget Request

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