Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto confirmed that Mexico has decided to legalize the use of Medical Marijuana after unanimous support from Mexico’s House of Congress.

After many months of speculation for what was once vehemently opposed by President Nieto, the policy has been put into re-examination after a nationwide public debate on the subject. Nieto told the 2016 National General Assembly Special Sessions that “We must move beyond prohibition to effective prevention.”

Pena Nieto even went as far as to introduce a law that would allow the citizens of Mexico to be in possession of up to an ounce of marijuana without repercussions. However, the bill stalled and did not pass in Congress.

The medical marijuana bill passed through congress with ease late in 2016 and Mexico’s lower house passed the bill almost unanimously earlier in the year with a vote of 347-7. Mexico’s Secretary of Health voiced his approval of the bill stating “I welcome the approval of therapeutic use of cannabis in Mexico.” This is a policy we are not used to seeing in a developed country.

The decree given out by the President specifies that the Ministry of Health will be given the task of drafting as well as implementing the various policies associated with the new bill. Pena Nieto’s bill will effectively decriminalize the medical use of cannabis, THC, CBD, and all of the various cannabis derivative that help to ease the suffering in numerous conditions.

Although the current stipulations only permit the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol to not exceed one percent, the Ministry of Health will be required to research the medicinal benefits of the plant in order to change the stipulations. Mexico has changed from their past policy of strict drug enforcement given the current state of criminal drug activity to a newer more lax policy as they realize the medicinal benefits.

The road to legalizing marijuana for medicinal use may be hard, but Mexico has surpassed the first major hurdle.

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