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Mexican Supreme Court Again Extends Marijuana Legalization Deadline

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The Mexican Supreme Court granted a request to again extend the deadline for the nation’s Congress to legalize marijuana on Friday.

Ever since the court declared in 2018 that the prohibition on personal possession and cultivation of cannabis is unconstitutional, lawmakers have been working to enact a policy change, accordingly. But while bills have been introduced to accomplish that, negotiations have taken longer than expected.

An initial deadline for legalization was set for October 2019, but Senate leaders requested an extension amid disagreements about legislation that was heading toward a vote. The court approved that request and said Congress had until the end of this month to reform the country’s marijuana policy.

But as the coronavirus pandemic forced lawmakers to put most legislative activities on hold, another extension was requested.

The new deadline for lawmakers to end prohibition is December 15鈥攖he end of the next legislative session. Politco.mx first reported the development.

Sen. M贸nica Fern谩ndez, president of the Senate’s Board of Directors, thanked the court for approving the extension.

Although lawmakers conceded they would not be able to meet this month’s deadline, substantial progress has been made nonetheless on the cannabis legislation.

During a joint meeting of the Justice, Health, Legislative Studies and Public Safety Committees last month, members approved a聽revised marijuana reform bill that had been circulated.

The proposal as introduced would聽allow adults 18 and older to possess and cultivate marijuana for personal use. Individuals could grow up to 20 registered plants as long as the total yield doesn鈥檛 exceed 480 grams per year. Medical patients could apply to cultivate more than 20 plants, however.

Personal possession would be capped at 28 grams, but possession of up to 200 grams would be decriminalized.

The Mexican Institute of Regulation and Control of Cannabis, a decentralized body established under the measure, would be established and responsible for regulating the market and issuing licenses for marijuana businesses.

The bill proposes a 12 percent tax on cannabis sales, with some revenue going toward a substance misuse treatment fund.

Public consumption would be permissible, except in spaces designated as 100 percent smoke-free. Hemp and CBD would be exempt from regulations that apply to THC products.

An earlier version of the legislation was approved by Senate committees last year ahead of the court鈥檚 October deadline.

Advocates have expressed frustration over the more recently revised version, noting that it hadn鈥檛 been changed to address their concerns.

They would like to enhance social equity provisions, provide protections for cannabis consumers and ensure that market empowers domestic farmers, especially those most impacted under the drug war鈥攁nd they hope that lawmakers will the new deadline extension to carefully consider their concerns and work them into an amended version of the legislation.

“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,” Zara Snapp, a legalization activist with the Instituto RIA and the coalition #RegulacionPorLaPaz, told Marijuana Moment. “We also hope that this will provide them with the opportunity to integrate social justice into every aspect of the bill.”

“We believe that this bill is urgent for Mexico, particularly once we get past the pandemic and are ale to restart the economy. Regulating cannabis will be a key measure that could be used to generate formal jobs and provide a more just wage for people who are involved in this entire production chain,” she said.

Lawmakers Want Business Owners With Marijuana Convictions To Be Eligible For Coronavirus Relief

This story was updated to include comment from Snapp.

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.

Kyle Jaeger is Marijuana Moment's Los Angeles-based associate editor. His work has also appeared in High Times, VICE and attn.

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Connecticut Governor Says He’s Open To Smoking Marijuana After He Signs Legalization Bill

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The governor of Connecticut said on Friday that he isn’t ruling out smoking marijuana after he formally signs a legalization bill into law next week.

While most top politicians might still demure when asked if they鈥檇 partake in cannabis given ongoing stigma and federal prohibition, Gov. Ned Lamont (D) said matter-of-factly that 鈥渢ime will tell鈥 when asked by a reporter if people can “expect to see the governor smoking a joint” after legalization goes into effect in the state.

News 12’s John Craven replied incredulously, 鈥淩eally? You鈥檙e open to it?鈥

The governor first shrugged, then nodded his head yes.

鈥淣ot right now, but we鈥檒l see鈥 Lamont said.

Other governors in legal states have been playful about cannabis culture and their own relationship to the plant. But while a growing number of lawmakers are comfortable discussing their past marijuana use, this is a fairly remarkable exchange for the sitting top executive officer of a state.

It’s also a sign of the times, as congressional lawmakers step up the push to end federal prohibition and legalization bills move through numerous state legislatures.

Connecticut lawmakers sent Lamont an adult-use legalization bill on Thursday, and he’s confirmed his intent to sign it into law. It would make the state the 19th to have enacted the policy change and the fourth this year alone.

And while the governor has consistently emphasized the important of social equity in legalization legislation鈥攁t one point threatening to veto the bill because of a provision he felt could undermine its intent to effectively stand up disparately impacted communities鈥攈e also seems to see the personal benefits of the reform.

Similar to Lamont’s new comments, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) raised some eyebrows in 2018 when he said in an interview that he grows cannabis himself. But then a spokesperson for his office denied that he actually personally cultivates marijuana.

Minnesota Marijuana Reform Could ‘Move Forward’ In Special Session That Just Launched, Top Lawmaker Says

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Minnesota Marijuana Reform Could ‘Move Forward’ In Special Session That Just Launched, Top Lawmaker Says

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Even though a Minnesota House-passed marijuana legalization bill died in the Senate without action by the end of this year’s regular session, a top lawmaker says there’s still a “possibility to move forward” on cannabis reform as part of a special session that began this week.

“Nobody really expected the medical program to be so successfully changed this year,” House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler (D) said at a rally with cannabis reform advocates on Wednesday,聽referencing a separate measure Gov. Tim Walz (D) signed last month that will allow patients to access smokable cannabis products.

According to The Star Tribune, Winkler聽added that “surprising things can happen” during a special session. “When you see Republican support and Democratic support in the House and Senate, there is a possibility to move forward.”

Advocates with Minnesota NORML are pushing for several specific policies to be incorporated into legislation that is set to be taken up by the legislature during the special session. The first is to expand the state’s decriminalization policy, and the second is to have the state petition for a federal exemption for Minnesota’s medical cannabis program.

Part of the motivation behind that latter proposal is to ensure that registered patients are able to lawfully purchase and possess firearms in spite of federal restrictions.

At the rally, which was organized by NORML, Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition (RAMP) and other groups, Winkler and several other lawmakers spoke in favor of modest policy changes such as decriminalizing cannabis.

“Decriminalizing small amounts is important,” Rep. Jeremy Munson (R), one of only a handful of Republicans who voted for Winkler’s broad adult-use legalization bill, said at the rally. “If someone in Minnesota gets caught with two gummy bears, it’s a felony and they’ll lose their gun rights forever.”

The coalition proposed several key reforms that they say should be integrated into public safety and health legislation that’s currently moving through committee during the special session:

-Further reduce penalties for simple possession of marijuana.

-Allow people convicted of possession up to eight grams of cannabis to petition the courts for expungement.

-Require the Minnesota health commissioner to petition the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for an exemption for its medical marijuana program.

鈥漅educing or eliminating the criminal penalties we’re seeing around marijuana is where we have consensus,” Thomas Gallagher of RAMP said in a press release. “Let’s focus on the people who have small quantities. There is injustice in a trivial amount of marijuana resulting in life-changing punishments like imprisonment, criminal records, and lost jobs and kids.鈥

Similar to the Minnesota activists’ call, Iowa officials have requested that federal agencies guarantee some level of protection for people participating in the state鈥檚 medical marijuana program.

The Hawaii legislature adopted a resolution in April seeking an exemption聽from DEA stipulating that the state is permitted to run its medical cannabis program without federal interference.

Back in Minnesota, the House聽approved a bill last month to legalize marijuana for recreational use聽following 12 committee assignments. That legislation stalled in the GOP-controlled Senate, however.

Advocates are hopeful about the possibility that further cannabis reforms could be accomplished in the special session, but they see an obstacle in Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R), who has been relatively silent on the issue since the end of the regular session.

He did previously say, however, that “we’re always said we were open to lowering the criminal penalties [for marijuana].”

The decriminalization legislation that advocates are rallying behind would make possession of up to eight grams of cannabis a petty misdemeanor. It would also make people with prior convictions for that level of possession eligible for expungements.

Under the separate medical cannabis expansion bill that the governor has signed, adults 21 and older will be able to access smokable marijuana products. That policy must take effect by March 1, 2022, or earlier if rules are developed and the state鈥檚 cannabis commissioner authorizes it.

Dispensaries could also provide a curbside pickup option for patients under the new law. It further removes restrictions for designated caregivers and allows them to tend to six registered patients at once, rather than just one.

Walz, who hadn’t been especially vocal about legalization as the broader legislation advanced during the regulator session, said, 鈥淚鈥檝e thought for a long time about that,鈥 adding that 鈥渨e know that adults can make their own decisions on things, we know that criminalization and prohibition has not worked.鈥

鈥淚鈥檝e always thought that it makes sense to control how you鈥檙e doing this and to make sure that adults know what they鈥檙e getting into, and use it wisely,鈥 he said. 鈥淚 also think there鈥檚 a lot of inequity about how folks have spent time in jail or been arrested around this, especially in communities of color.鈥

The majority leader鈥檚 legalization legislation as introduced was identical to a proposal he filed last year, with some minor technical changes. Winkler, who led a statewide listening to gather public input ahead of the measure鈥檚 introduction, called it the 鈥渂est legalization bill in the country鈥聽at the time. It did not advance in that session, however.

Under the measure, social equity would be prioritized, in part by ensuring diverse licensing and preventing the market from being monopolized by corporate players. Prior marijuana records would also be automatically expunged.

Walz in January he called on lawmakers to pursue the reform as a means to聽boost the economy and promote racial justice. He did not include a request to legalize through his budget proposal, however.

The governor did say in 2019 that he was聽directing state agencies to prepare to implement reform聽in anticipation of legalization passing.

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

Heading into the 2020 election, Democrats believed they had a shot of taking control of the Senate, but that didn鈥檛 happen. The result appears to be partly due to the fact that candidates from marijuana-focused parties in the state聽earned a sizable share of votes聽that may have otherwise gone to Democrats, perhaps inadvertently hurting the chances of reform passing.

In December, the Minnesota House Select Committee On Racial Justice adopted a report that broadly details race-based disparities in criminal enforcement and recommends a series of policy changes,聽including marijuana decriminalization and expungements.

California Senator Previews Next Steps For Psychedelics Bill And Says It’s A Step Toward Decriminalizing All Drugs

Photo courtesy of Mike Latimer.

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Maine Lawmakers Approve Bill To Decriminalize All Drugs On 50th Anniversary Of Nixon’s ‘War On Drugs’

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The Maine House of Representatives on Thursday approved a bill to decriminalize possession of all currently illicit drugs, delivering a victory to reform advocates on the 50th anniversary of President Richard Nixon’s declaration of the war on drugs.

The Senate also began consideration of the legislation on Thursday, but has not yet taken a vote.

The proposal, LD 967, was approved in 77-62 vote in the House. It would make possession of controlled substances for personal use punishable by a $100 fine, without the threat of incarceration. That fine could also be waived if a person completes a substance misuse assessment within 45 days of being cited.

“We are continually trying to criminalize a symptom of a disease. It hasn’t worked. It won’t work,” Rep. Charlotte Warren (D), who serves as the House chair of the legislature’s Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, said before the vote. “We have tried criminalizing this disease for decades, and 11 Mainers a week are dying.”

Rep. Anne Perry (D), sponsor of the bill, said that incarcerating people who are suffering from addiction “only proves to them that they are as bad as they think they are” and perpetuates the cycle of substance misuse. “Law enforcement is not the gateway to treatment and recovery. It’s a gateway to isolation and suicide.”

The measure’s passage flies in the face of Gov. Janet Mills (D), whose administration opposes the reform, as does the state attorney general. Coupled with opposition from Republican legislators, the bill faces an uphill battle to final passage.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,100 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.

The Senate also began consideration of the legislation on Thursday night, adopting a different committee report than the House approved, but setting it aside as unfinished business before taking a final vote on the bill. The version moving forward in that chamber would similarly impose a $100 fine for possession, but only for the first two offenses. Subsequent offenses would be considered Class E crimes that could carry jail time.

These actions come one month after a joint House and Senate committee advanced the decriminalization bill with several conflicting recommendations, as well as another measure to reform the state鈥檚 drug trafficking laws.

Supporters of the legislation include the American Academy of Pediatrics’s Maine Chapter, Maine Medical Association, Alliance for Addiction and Mental Health Services in Maine and Maine Council of Churches.

Thursday’s decriminalization vote represents a continuation of a national conversation about the need to reform laws criminalizing people over drugs and treat substance misuse as a public health issue, rather than a criminal justice matter.

For the first time ever, a congressional bill to federally decriminalize possession of controlled substances鈥攁nd incentivize states to do the same鈥was formally introduced on Thursday.

Last year, Oregon voters elected to聽end criminalization of low-level drug possession聽at the ballot.

Vermont lawmakers also introduced聽a bill in March that would end criminal penalties聽for possessing small amounts of drugs in the state.

Also that month, a Rhode Island Senate committee held a hearing on decriminalization legislation to聽replace criminal penalties for possessing small amounts of drugs聽with a $100 fine.

Back in Maine, a bill was recently introduced that would聽legalize psilocybin mushrooms for therapeutic purposes.

Senators Publicly Pressure Key Chairman For Vote On Marijuana Banking Bill

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