Mexico ended 2018 in a high note as the Supreme Court declared the absolute ban on recreational cannabis unconstitutional. On October 31st, they ruled in favor of 2 legal cases filed against prohibition of recreational cannabis use and, in turn, this ruling completed the 5 cases needed to overturn the law. The Associated Press reported that the Supreme Court “found that adults have a fundamental right to personal development which lets them decide their recreational activities without interference from the state.” This monumental news quickly circulated as Mexico would likely become the 3rd country in the world to legalize and regulate cannabis for adult use.
These rulings came shortly before the change of government on December 1st 2018, meaning there was a month’s time between the ruling and new president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, cabinet members and federal agency directors taking office. During this window of time 4 companies and 38 products were registered with the COFEPRIS for import and sale of cannabis products within Mexico. Questions arose as soon as it came to light that these companies received permits in such a quick time frame and just before the exit of the previous officials.
Free press, as well as the first to market advantage initially put these companies in a good position, however the new government has now undergone an investigation into these registrations which may result in them being declared invalid. If this happens, the companies will have to go through the process of registering their products with the new government, effectively setting them months behind from what they had anticipated.
The evaluation of those first 38 registrations of cannabis products is currently taking place and there will hopefully be a decision made quickly regarding whether or not those registrations will be legally acceptable. The Secretary of Health has declared that the regulating of medicinal cannabis will not be resumed until a decision is made about whether to allow these products or not, adding another obstacle to the regulating process.
In addition to this encumbrance, Mexico’s government is restructuring its federal agencies, and the new bills regulating recreational cannabis include a new agency that will oversee this up and coming industry. These changes to how the government is arranged likely won’t hinder or regress the predicted progressive regulation of cannabis in the country, however, it will likely slow down the process.
The list of product registrations currently under review can be found here