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What are the cannabis laws in Mexico? Is weed legal?

What are the cannabis laws in Mexico? Is weed legal?

Medical: Legal 
Recreational: Decriminalized (expected to be legal imminently)  

Mexican lawmakers in March, 2021 approved a law to legalize recreational cannabis, and some analysts believe the country could become the world’s largest cannabis market. The law must still go to the Senate for final approval, and the country still must establish the licensing and regulatory requirements for a legal domestic cannabis industry. 

While the government of Mexico already decriminalized possession of up to 5 grams of marijuana in 2009, more wide ranging legalization lagged far behind for nearly a decade. 

A march for the legalization of cannabis, Mexico City
A ruling by the country’s supreme court in 2018 overturned a ban on recreational cannabis as unconstitutional. (Alfredo Hernandez Rios/Shutterstock)

The legislation follows a ruling by the country’s supreme court in 2018 which overturned a ban on recreational cannabis as unconstitutional. The ruling also mandated that Mexico’s Congress pass legislation in kind. A subsequent 2018 bill included proposals to reform the country’s General Health Law, including to allow recreational and medical cannabis use. 

What does Mexico’s cannabis legalization bill allow?

If it passes final approval by the senate, the cannabis legalization bill approved 316 to 129 by Mexico’s lower house will legalize the following: 

  • Possession of up to 28 grams of cannabis 
  • Home cultivation of up to eight plants for personal use
  • Purchase by adults over 18 of cannabis at authorized retail businesses
  • Cannabis recreational consumption clubs 
A police officer in Mexico City
A police officer in Mexico City (Shutterstock)

Who can get medical cannabis in Mexico?

In 2017, then-Meican President Enrique Pena Nieto issued a mandate to legalize medical cannabis in the country following a Senate vote in December, 2016 to legalize medical cannabis.  

The 2017 decree amended the country’s General Health Law and Federal Penal Code “to regulate the medicinal use of the pharmacological derivatives of cannabis sativa.” The decree also stated that cannabis derivatives with less than 1% THC “that have wide industrial uses, may be marketed, exported and imported in compliance with the requirements established in the health regulations.”

cannabis encampment outside the Mexican Senate building in Mexico City
Visitors at the cannabis encampment protest camp outside the Mexican Senate building in Mexico City. (ProtoplasmaKid)

The amendment stated that doctors who would like to work in medical cannabis must register with the Federal Commission for the Protection Against Sanitary Risk COFEPRIS. 

Both citizens and foreigners can travel within Mexico with their cannabis medicine, opening the door potentially for medical cannabis tourism. 

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Under Mexican law, the government oversees the production of cannabis for research and medicinal purposes and the provision of cannabis-based medicines is carried out by pharmacies. 

Under the regulations posted by Mexico’s Ministry of Health in early 2021, people looking to carry out cannabis research must obtain approval from the Mexican health regulators COFEPRIS. The regulations also stipulate rules for the cultivation, harvest, and production of cannabis. 

The regulations have yet to determine which medical conditions qualify a patient for the medical cannabis program, which products will be provided, and what they will cost. 

What marijuana products are allowed in Mexico?

Until the government finalizes the regulations regarding which cannabis products are legal and in which concentrations, consumers in Mexico can legally purchase CBD as a health supplement 

As long as the product contains less than 1% THC, it can be sold in stores in Mexico and imported to the country.

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