Sensi: California and Mexico Legalization Updates

Leland Rucker, senior editor at Sensi Magazine, takes a look ahead to the new year when Californians will be able to purchase legal recreational marijuana, except in Los Angeles. The city will begin taking applications Jan. 3, and city officials say it could be awhile before licensing is complete and shops can open.

“LA, of course, is California’s largest city, and 80 percent of city voters said they wanted sales to begin as soon as the market opened. But since then, the city has argued over rules and regs.”


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Legalization has resulted in a patchwork of regulations around the state. In general, like in Colorado, Proposition 64 treats cannabis like alcohol, allowing adults to legally possess up to an ounce and grow six plants at home, but leaves it to local counties and municipalities to create their own rules. Bakersfield, for instance, which is part of Kern County north of LA, has banned all commercial sales. Medical sales in the state continue and aren’t affected by any of this.

In other news, Mexico is set to legalize the sale of marijuana-based “products” early next year to help treat diseases like epilepsy, Parkinson’s and cancer, and the country’s health regulator announced last week that the country will allow the sale of cannabis-based foods, drinks, medicines and cosmetics. For the time being, products will be imported until Mexican facilities are completed.

Currently, legal cannabis medicines are only permitted to contain less than 1 percent of THC. Complete rules aren’t out yet on what constitutes a marijuana-based product, but the sale of bud and oil-based marijuana will continue to remain outlawed.

“It will be interesting to watch what happens in Mexico. Mexican cartels still sell marijuana to the black market in the US, and 80 percent of the country’s adults identified as Roman Catholic. The church strongly opposes legalization in any way. Some polls in Mexico found that about the same number of Mexicans opposed legalization, although they favor medicinal use.”

Though it is decriminalized – those caught are referred to drug programs rather than arrested for possession — recreational marijuana is still broadly prohibited. That could change after a 2015 Supreme Court ruling that allowed four people the right to grow their own marijuana for personal consumption. Many politicians, prompted by former president Vicente Fox, are considering legalization in the future.

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