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Yesterday evening the lower chamber of Mexico’s Congress approved legislation which legalizes the recreational use of marijuana. With 316 votes in favor and 129 against these laws now permit users to possess up to 28 grams for personal use and in home cultivation of 6 to 8 plants depending on the number of consumers in the household. These laws of course only apply to those over the age of 18 and have certain nuances.
Certain restrictions have been made, for example, consumers must make sure that the smoke does not affect any non smokers in the household. Smoking is also banned in any area designated as “100% free of Tobacco Smoke” as well as public and private schools of any academic level. Performing certain activities or any form of employment while under the influence is also prohibited. Promotion or propaganda of Cannabis is also impeded by the ruling.
Minors who consume cannabis will be fined, and anyone who provides or facilitates the substance to a minor will have committed a crime. Minors are not allowed to work for anything involving the cultivating, transportation or selling of cannabis.
The Mexican government will start an awareness campaign about the risks of cannabis consumption, especially those under 25 years of age, in order to decrease its use.
The sale, production and commercialization of cannabis and its products will be overseen by the National Commision against Addictions, or CONADIC. This institution will be responsible for the authorization of establishments that can sell the substance.
Anyone in possession of over 28 grams up to 200 grams of cannabis will be delivered to the corresponding authorities and will pay a fine of up to $10,754 MXN (roughly about $520 USD or $652 Canadian). Users caught smoking in areas not authorized by the CONADIC or in tobacco free zones will be fined up to $26,886 MXN ($1300 USD or $1630 Canadian). Individuals under the effect of THC caught driving a vehicle or operating heavy machinery will be punished with up to 36 hours under arrest.
What this means for tourism is yet to be seen but there is likely to be a rise in visitors. The bill still has to go through the Senate, which should be smooth sailing, then it’s off to the desk President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador who has shown to be pro legalization. This move leaves the United States standing between it’s now two major Cannabis selling neighbors. Now recently vaccinated U.S. travellers have another excuse to escape to Puerto Vallarta.