The Chamber of Deputies, Mexico’s lower house of Congress, has received an extension on a Supreme Court-imposed Dec. 15 deadline to approve a cannabis legalization bill, again delaying the country’s much-anticipated legalization vote, according to Border Report.
Mexico President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said during a news conference that lawmakers asked for an extension because they needed more time to make revisions to the bill, the news outlet reported. Lopez Obrador now expects approval on the legislation in early 2021.
The Mexico Senate approved the legalization bill last month, sending it to the Chamber of Deputies for consideration. The legislation would legalize the possession of up to 28 grams of cannabis, allow adults to grow up to six plants at home and allow licensed businesses to sell cannabis products under the oversight of a newly created Mexican Institute for Regulation and Cannabis Control.
The Mexico Supreme Court ruled in 2018 that an absolute ban on adult-use cannabis was unconstitutional, which prompted lawmakers to pass legislation to regulate cannabis at the federal level.
The Senate initially considered a bill last year to legalize and regulate cannabis, but missed a Supreme Court-imposed deadline to pass the legislation by the end of October 2019, and the deadline was extended to April 30, 2020.
Lawmakers asked the Supreme Court for another deadline extension earlier this year in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused the suspension of many legislative procedures, and were then given until Dec. 15 to finalize and approve the bill.
In light of the latest deadline extension, the Chamber of Deputies is expected to take up the legislation again in early February, according to Border Report.
“There is no opposition to what the Senate authorized regarding the medicinal and limited use of marijuana,” Lopez Obrador said in his news conference. “It’s just a matter of errors, lack of precision about the amounts and other contradictions in the law itself, and that’s what will be resolved."