BOGOTA, Colombia

Lawmakers in two key committees of Mexico’s Chamber of Deputies have approved a Senate-passed bill to nationally legalize marijuana, paving the way for further action.

In a joint vote, the bill was passed by members of the chamber’s health and justice committees with 34 votes in favor, 11 against and 12 abstentions.

The bill, passed by the Senate in November, underwent some changes before it was approved and was sent to the board of directors of the Chamber of Deputies for review.

The objective of the bill is to decriminalize the recreational use of cannabis for adults and to regulate both self-cultivation and self-consumption.

The restrictions maintained by the ruling are the import and export of psychoactive cannabis as well as any of its derivatives and the prohibition of the use of recreational cannabis by people under the age of 18.

People who want to grow marijuana plants in their place of residence must apply for a license and renew it annually and can cultivate up to six plants for personal use.

The new rule includes the immediate release of people deprived of liberty for crimes that the bill now decriminalizes, such as cannabis-related health crimes. However, their criminal records will be maintained.

It also ruled out the creation of a Mexican institute for the regulation of cannabis to avoid the bureaucracy this would entail.

The regulatory functions of cannabis would be adopted by the Federal Committee for Protection from Sanitary Risks (Cofepris), which would also assess the health risks from the plant and supervise its use.​​​​​​​

The National Commission Against Addictions (Conadic) would be in charge of all issues related to the recreational use of cannabis.

Copyright 2022 Anadolu Agency. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.