Mexico Senate Leader Seeks to Legalize Marijuana This Spring

Andrea Navarro

(Bloomberg) -- Mexico’s Senate is set to debate bills to legalize marijuana and regulate outsourcing in the coming period from February to April.

The Senate will debate a bill co-authored by Senate Majority Leader Ricardo Monreal to regulate planting, production, labeling, sales and distribution, and would make it free for medical use, according to a document sent by the senator’s office. It would also create the Mexican Institute for Regulation and Control of Cannabis to create rules for points of sale and the allowed THC contents for products.

While marijuana has been increasingly legalized in the U.S., its use remains restricted in Mexico. President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has said he’d consider legalizing the drug or regulating its use, but it’s not a priority of his security strategy, which instead focuses on rooting out corruption and providing opportunities for young people so they don’t turn to drugs and crime.

Also on the list of bills to be debated this session is a justice reform that raised controversy after an initial draft included changes to the constitution to allow prosecutors to monitor phone calls and emails. Legislation to fight climate change is also on the docket, according to Monreal’s office.

The Mexican Senate will take up these topics in its regular session that runs from Feb. 1 to April 30. Monreal’s Morena party holds a majority in both houses of congress.

When it comes to outsourcing, Monreal has said the practice will be debated to improve its regulation. A proposed bill that would have banned outsourcing outright was postponed after business chambers raised concern about the legislation. The practice is criticized by some labor activists who say it helps businesses save money by lowering employees’ pay and benefits.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrea Navarro in Mexico City at anavarro30@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Case at bcase4@bloomberg.net, Dale Quinn

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