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Mexican Supreme Court Extends Deadline To Legalize Marijuana As Lawmakers Continue To Advance Bill

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The Mexican Supreme Court has again agreed to extend the deadline for lawmakers to legalize marijuana nationally, even as Senate-passed reform legislation advanced this week through at least two Chamber of Deputies committees.

This is just the latest extension the court has approved since it deemed the prohibition on personal use and cultivation of cannabis unconstitutional in 2018 and mandated that Congress end the policy. The Senate passed the legalization bill last month ahead of the earlier December 15 deadline.

But now the court says legislators have until the end of the next session, which starts in February and ends April 30, to enact the reform. This is the fourth deadline the body has imposed. First it was October 2019, then April 2020, then December 2020 and now April 2021.

Overall, the bill would establish a regulated cannabis market, allowing adults 18 and older to purchase and possess up to 28 grams of marijuana and cultivate up to six plants for personal use.

Leaders in the Chamber of Deputies said they needed the postponement to further review the Senate-passed legislation. However, that hasn’t stopped several committees from taking up the bill, with the Human Rights and Budget and Public Account Committees having already considered and advanced it in recent days just before the new deadline extension request.

In her request for the deadline extension, Chamber President Dulce Mar铆a Sauri Riancho stressed the “complexity of the issue at hand” and added that the coronavirus pandemic “has made it difficult for the legislative process” to move forward “with the depth and care” needed to address the seriousness of the cannabis issue.

“This Chamber of Deputies has been forced to implement extraordinary measures to protect the right to health and life of legislators and other public servants,” she wrote, “which has inevitably affected the work of the committees and of the plenary sessions.”

While advocates are eager for Congress to formally end prohibition, this new delay will give them more time to try to convince legislators to address their concerns about certain provisions of the current bill, namely the limited nature of its social equity components and strict penalties for violating rules.

“It’s disappointing that the two legislative bodies couldn’t have better coordinated their work in order to ensure that they meet the obligation and the deadline made by the Supreme Court,” Zara Snapp, a legalization activist with the Instituto RIA and the coalition #RegulacionPorLaPaz, told Marijuana Moment.

“Since that didn’t happen, we hope that as they work on this in the next legislative session, they will ensure that human rights are at the center as well as improve and expand the opportunities for communities affected by prohibition,” she said, adding that it would be a shame if any additional revisions further benefited transnational corporations instead of local farmers.

There were several revisions made in the Senate prior to last month鈥檚 vote, but most of those were technical in nature.

However, there were a number of notable changes, such as an increase from the initial limit of four self-cultivated plants per person and to make it so people who grow cannabis for personal use will not be subject to a requirement to have regulators track plants.

An additional change mandates that the government clear criminal records of people with past cannabis convictions within six months.

Lawmakers also removed a prohibition on owning more than one type of marijuana license, allowing for vertical integration of cannabis businesses. A previous version of the bill would have only allowed people from vulnerable communities to hold more than one license type.

Another modification that advocates are not happy with says that nonprofit associations of consumers that collectively cultivate cannabis must be located at least 500 meters from schools, sports and recreation centers and anywhere that third parties who have not given their consent could be exposed to smoke.

The legalization bill聽cleared a joint group of Senate committees聽prior to the full floor vote, 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in March, but the coronavirus pandemic delayed consideration of the issue.

Senate President Eduardo Ram铆rez previously said that there was a 鈥渃onsensus鈥 to achieve the reform by the court-mandated December deadline, but that did not pan out.

The legislation makes some attempts to mitigate the influence of large marijuana corporations. For example, it states that for the first five years after implementation, at least 40 percent of cannabis business licenses must be granted to those from indigenous, low-income or historically marginalized communities.

The Mexican Institute of Cannabis would be responsible for regulating the market and issuing licenses.

Public consumption of marijuana would be allowed, except in places where tobacco use is prohibited or at mass gatherings where people under 18 could be exposed.

Households where more than one adult lives would be limited to cultivating a maximum of eight plants. The legislation also says people 鈥渟hould not鈥 consume cannabis in homes where there are underaged individuals. Possession of more than 28 grams but fewer than 200 grams would be considered an infraction punishable by a fine but no jail time.

Sen. Julio Ram贸n Menchaca Salazar of the MORENA party said in April that legalizing cannabis could fill treasury coffers at a time when the economy is recovering from the pandemic.

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.

In September, 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 the same official, Interior Ministry Secretary Olga S谩nchez Cordero, a marijuana joint聽on the floor of the Chamber of Deputies last year.

Cannabis made another appearance in the legislature in August, 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 lawmakers’ request for a deadline extension and the court’s response below:聽

Mexico Supreme Court Marijuana Delay by Marijuana Moment on Scribd

Embracing Marijuana Legalization Could Have Offset Democratic Election Losses, Poll Indicates

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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Minnesota Marijuana Legalization Bill Clears 12th And Final House Committee, Advancing To The Floor

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A bill to legalize marijuana in Minnesota has been approved by its final House committee and will now advance to the floor.

The road to get to this position has been long and winding, with 12 panels hearing and voting on the measure since it was introduced in February.

House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler (D), Speaker Melissa Hortman (D) and other lawmakers filed the proposal, which would allow adults 21 and older to purchase and possess up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis and cultivate up to eight plants, four of which could be mature.

Members of the House Ways & Means Committee approved the legislation in a 16-10 vote on Friday.

Winkler previously said that he expects a floor vote this month, though that has yet to be scheduled. The legislature is slated to adjourn on May 17.

The bill “helps to correct wrongs that have been done for too long in Minnesota to communities who’ve been over-policed who have been targeted for cannabis enforcement to further a prohibition of cannabis that does not work,” the majority leader said in opening remarks.

Winkler said that “legalizing and creating a safe marketplace by taxing cannabis and using the proceeds from those taxes to pay for cannabis regulation to help invest in a cannabis industry” would reflect “the values of Minnesotans and help to address the harm that is caused by cannabis prohibition on our black and brown communities.”

The panel adopted an amendment from Winkler that expands the definition of social equity applicants to include those from communities disproportionately impacted by prohibition and makes changes to how regulators would address rules violations by businesses. It would also revise the amount of funding for various state agencies, including a reduction in appropriations for the Department of Corrections.

A proposal to require that the label on marijuana products include information about the maximum dose that is considered safe within a 24-hour period was also approved.

An additional amendment that would have required marijuana products to be labeled with a warning that cannabis remains illegal under federal law was rejected.

Prior to taking up the legalization bill, members adopted an amendment to separate budget legislation that would provide funding for the implementation of the cannabis program for the first biennium, after which time marijuana tax revenue would more than cover costs.

It the measure does clear the full House chamber, it鈥檚 still expected to face a significant challenge in the Republican-controlled Senate, where lawmakers have signaled that they鈥檙e more interested in revising the state鈥檚 existing medical cannabis program than enacting legalization of adult use.

That said, a GOP member of the Taxes Committee, which approved the legalization bill on Wednesday, indicated that he felt an amendment he introduced and that was adopted could bolster Republican support.

That revision from Rep. Pat Garofolo (R) directs remaining cannabis revenue to a tax relief account after implementation costs are covered and substance misuse treatment and prevention programs are funded.

鈥淭he adoption of this amendment is a gamechanger,鈥 Garofalo said in a press release. 鈥淭he Democrat majority accepting this amendment means that if signed into law, this bill will result in lowering taxes Minnesotans are FORCED to pay, financed with the revenue generated from taxes that people are CHOOSING to pay.鈥

Before the Taxes Committee, the bill passed the Health Finance and Policy Committee, Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Finance and Policy Committee,聽Education Finance Committee,聽State Government Finance and Elections Committee,聽Judiciary Finance and Civil Law Committee, Environment and Natural Resources Finance and Policy Committee, Agriculture Finance and Policy Committee, Workforce and Business Development Finance and Policy Committee, Labor, Industry, Veterans and Military Affairs Finance and Policy Committee and聽Commerce Finance and Policy Committee.

“At the beginning of the year, a House committee had never passed a legalization bill. Now, we鈥檙e on the verge of passing a bill off the House floor,” Winkler said in an email聽to supporters on Friday. “We have the ability to change laws in a way that improves people鈥檚 lives, whether it鈥檚 expunging cannabis-related records, targeting economic opportunity for those impacted most by the war on drugs, providing relief for veterans suffering from PTSD and serious health conditions, and more.”


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 litany of committees the bill has gone through makes it perhaps the most thoroughly vetted legalization measure to move through a state legislature鈥攁nd it means that a solid portion of the House has already had the chance to review, propose amendments to and vote on the legislation it as it advances to the floor, presumably increasing its chances of passage in the chamber.

The majority leader鈥檚 bill 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聽鈥渂est legalization bill in the country鈥聽at the time. It did not advance in that session, however.

Under the legislation, 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.

On-site consumption and cannabis delivery services would be permitted under the bill. And unlike in many legal states, local municipalities would be banned from prohibiting marijuana businesses from operating in their areas.

Retail cannabis sales would be taxed at 10 percent. Part of that revenue would fund a grant program designed to promote economic development and community stability.

The聽bill聽calls for the establishment of a seven-person Cannabis Management Board, which would be responsible for regulating the market and issuing cannabis business licenses. It was amended in committee month to add members to that board who have a social justice background.

People living in low-income neighborhoods and military veterans who lost honorable status due to a cannabis-related offense would be considered social equity applicants eligible for priority licensing.

Cannabis retails sales would launch on December 31, 2022.

Gov. Tim Walz (D) is also in favor of ending marijuana prohibition, and 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.

Walz 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.

Wisconsin Governor’s Marijuana Legalization Proposal Stripped From Budget By GOP-Led Committee

Photo courtesy of Mike Latimer.

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.
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Feds Announce New Standard THC Dose To Be Used In Marijuana Research, Effective Immediately

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A top federal health agency announced on Friday that it has determined the standard dose of THC that should be used for marijuana studies moving forward.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) said in a notice to researchers that there is a “new requirement to measure and report results using a standard THC unit in all applicable human subjects’ research,” which is effective immediately. That standard unit is five milligrams of THC.

NIDA said that inconsistencies in measuring and reporting THC exposure “has been a major limitation in studies of cannabis use, making it difficult to compare findings among studies.” Therefore, a “standardized measure of THC in cannabis products is necessary to advance research by providing greater comparability across studies of both its adverse effects and potential medical uses.”

The agency recognized, however, that “the same quantity of THC may have different effects based on route of administration, other product constituents, an individual鈥檚 genetic make-up and metabolic factors, prior exposure to cannabis, and other factors.”

But by creating a standard THC dose, it will nonetheless be easier to compare studies that involve THC exposure, which is a “high priority” of NIDA and the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse.

“It is not the intent of this Notice to prescribe the quantity of THC that is permissible for use in research projects. Indeed, investigators are free to use more or less than 5mg of THC as appropriate for their study,” the notice states. “However, for applicable studies, investigators will be required to report the quantity of THC using the standard unit. Investigators may also report the quantity of THC in other units (e.g., milligrams) as appropriate.”

This comes one year after NIDA, which is part of the National Institutes of Health, first solicited feedback on a proposal to standardize THC content in cannabis research.

The agency said that it carried out “extensive stakeholder input,” along with “consultation with experts in the field,” to arrive at the decision to set the standard unit at 5 mg.

“This guidance will apply to applications where THC is a focus of the research,” the new notice continues. “Applicants are responsible for determining whether use of this standard unit is applicable to their research and for determining best approach to applying it in their research applications. A justification should be provided for research that does not propose to use the standard unit.”

NIDA Director Nora Volkow discussed the importance of establishing a standard THC unit in commentary published in the journal Addiction last year.

Citing research that calls for a five milligram THC standard, Volkow聽said聽she agreed with the study鈥檚 conclusion despite complicating factors. Those factors include potential issues related to the effect of having cannabis products with the same THC level but different concentrations of other cannabinoids such as CBD.

The complexities in research beyond having a standardized measure of THC 鈥渉ardly negate the value鈥 of setting one, Volkow said in her commentary. 鈥淚n fact, having and using such a standard is a prerequisite for comparing the effects of various cannabis products on THC bioavailability, pharmacokinetics and pharmacological effects, which is knowledge fundamental to studies pertaining to medical use of cannabis.鈥

鈥淎lthough cannabis remains an illicit substance in the United States, the expanded legalization by states requires us to develop the knowledge base that can help states develop policies to minimize risk from cannabis exposures, such as limits on the THC content of cannabis products,鈥 she said.

Volkow has been聽vocal about the importance of streamlining and improving research into cannabis, and she鈥檚聽laid partial blame for the the lack of studies on marijuana鈥檚 restrictive federal classification.

Kansas Senate Running Out Of Time To Pass Medical Marijuana Legalization Bill That Cleared House

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Kansas Senate Running Out Of Time To Pass Medical Marijuana Legalization Bill That Cleared House

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As advocates applaud the passage of a medical marijuana legalization bill in the Kansas House of Representatives, anxieties remain high over its prospects in the GOP-controlled Senate.

The chamber has days left being the end of the legislative veto session, and Senate leadership has signaled that they do not view the reform legislation as a priority.

“The Senate is not real high on the issue at this point” Senate President Ty Masterson (R) told an Associated Press reporter in a pun-filled text message on Thursday, adding that “we may roll it into a joint committee and see if we can weed out the issues.”

Whether he was serious about the joint committee or simply making an attempt at cannabis-related humor is unclear. A spokesperson for his office separately said that the chamber is focused on passing a budget bill and a school funding measure in the final days of the session.

“I can鈥檛 imagine we鈥檇 take the subject matter up this year,” Masterson said earlier this week ahead of the House vote.

If the Senate doesn’t take up the medical marijuana bill by May 11, it would still be alive for the second half of the legislative biennium that starts early in 2022 and could be acted upon then.

But even if senators do make time to establish a bicameral conference committee to consider the proposal, there are still serious doubts about whether the body would approve the resulting negotiated legislation. And defeat in the Senate this year would mean lawmakers would have to start the process all over again if they wanted to pursue the reform again next year.

Getting the bill to this stage alone has proved challenging.

It moved聽through the House Federal and State Affairs Committee after a series of hearings and onto the floor in March, but then it was rereferred to the panel for further consideration. Members then adopted several additional amendments before sending it back on the floor.

The聽legislation聽would establish a medical marijuana program for qualified patients. It lists about two dozen conditions that make a person eligible for cannabis, including Alzheimer鈥檚 disease, cancer, Crohn鈥檚 disease, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.


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.

Smoking and vaping products would be prohibited. The bill would also not provide for home growing.

The state would license medical cannabis growers, testing labs, processors distributors and retailers, and counties would be able to opt out of allowing marijuana businesses to operate in their jurisdiction.

Patients would be able to purchase up to a 90 day supply of cannabis from licensed dispensaries, which would be regulated by the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC). That department would also be renamed the Division of Alcohol and Cannabis Control.

The secretary of the Department of Health and Environment would have to develop regulations to administer the medical cannabis program by July 1, 2023.

Gov. Laura Kelly (D), for her part, supports medical cannabis and would be expected to sign a bill if it arrived on her desk.

She pushed a separate proposal that would legalize medical cannabis and use the resulting revenue聽to support Medicaid expansion, with Rep. Brandon Woodard (D)聽filing the measure on the governor鈥檚 behalf.

Kelly has she said she wants voters to put聽pressure on their representatives to get the reform passed. And with the small timeline before the session’s end, the time to apply that pressure would be now.

While both pieces of legislation would make it so Kansas would join the vast majority of states that have legal medical marijuana markets, advocates view them as restrictive, particularly as it concerns the limited methods of consumption that would be permitted.

A separate medical cannabis legalization聽bill聽was introduced by the Senate Commerce Commerce in February, though it has not seen action beyond being referred to another panel.

Alabama Governor Will Give Medical Marijuana Bill A ‘Thorough’ Review, Spokesperson Says

Photo courtesy of Philip Steffan.

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.
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