After Legalizing Medical Marijuana, Mexico is set to allow cannabis-based product sales next year

Mexico will legalize the sale of cannabis-based medicines, foods, drinks, cosmetics and other products early next year, but it will continue its ban on the sale of pure marijuana as well as prohibiting cannabis recreational use and cultivation.

Following its legalization of marijuana for medical and scientific use in June, Mexico will make the sale of cannabis-based medicines, foods, drinks, cosmetics and other products – all legal – early next year, the country’s health regulator said on Wednesday.

The regulation for these marijuana-based goods will be published within days, Reuters reported Arturo Tornel, spokesman for health regulator Cofepris, as saying.

Once the regulation is set in stone at least initially, these items are expected to hit the Mexican market as soon as a month later.

The regulation, however, does not apply to sales of pure marijuana as Mexico will continue its ban on recreational use and cultivation.

The health regulator also expects both distributors and retailers to import the items, with some companies eventually producing items in Mexico using marijuana grown abroad, Tornel added.

So far legalization has sparked a debate in Mexico, which has long battled against drug trafficking, a major income source for the violent drug cartels that have killed 140,000 people in Mexico over the past decade.

Mexico is also a religious country as well, with a 2014 Pew Research Centre report revealing that 81 percent of the country’s adults identify as being Catholic, and according to World Religion News, Mexico is also home to the world’s second highest number of Catholics in the world.

If Mexico fully legalizes marijuana it will most likely tread in murky water as the Catholic church has expressed its stark opposition against cannabis, dubbing the substance as dangerous and incapable of stopping addiction, reports the Catholic Herald.

Pope Francis waves upon his arrival at the stadium of Morelia, Michoacán State, Mexico on February 16. (Image via AFP)

Mexico, however, is clearly joining the wagon of countries in South America, who made unprecedented changes in terms of their policy towards cannabis. Following Uruguay legalizing commercial cultivation and distribution of weed in 2013, all of Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Peru and Puerto Rico have legalized medical marijuana.

Like Canada, recreational marijuana is still illegal in the Latin American country, but in 2015 its Supreme Court granted four individuals the right to cultivate their own cannabis for personal consumption, heralding new changes in the country.