Mexican Congress delays hemp bill debate, pushing approval into 2021

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The Mexican lower house has delayed a hemp and marijuana legalization bill until at least February.

Local media reports that lawmakers say they need more time to study the bill. The current version legalizes recreational marijuana and industrial hemp but explicitly excludes regulating medical cannabis.

The Congress was expected to legalize marijuana by Tuesday to comply with a Supreme Court mandate.

The lower house, or the Chamber of Deputies, is expected to ask the Supreme Court for a new extension on the deadline, which has already been extended twice.

According to the latest version of the bill, a regulatory agency would be established later to determine the rules for its new hemp and marijuana industries. That’s a process that could take years.

Mexico’s potential medical marijuana industry has been stuck in neutral ever since a legal amendment from mid-2017 was approved by lawmakers.

That 2017 law amendment allowed medical cannabis, but because the required regulations were not properly created, businesses effectively had no opportunities.