The Procrastination of Pena Nieto

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On April 28th, Mexico’s Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favor of legalizing medical marijuana. It was a day that will go down in history as the beginning of the end for cannabis prohibition in Mexico, a country scarred by decades of drug violence.

All that remains to turn this into a win for cannabis patients in the Spanish nation is a signature from their leader, President Peña Nieto. Unfortunately, it’s been almost a month and a half since the vote took place and no signature has come.

This begs the question of what could be taking the President so long? Is there a problem with the bill, or is it simply a case of the watched pot legislation never boils? Marijuana.com sought to find the answer.

The last step we are waiting for is the Executive signing. Once that’s done, then the Ministry of Health can produce the standards to be enforced for prescribing, selling and producing the medications,” said Senator Cristina Diaz Salazar, the author of the bill. The Senator is anxiously awaiting the signature like everyone else but could not speculate as to what the hold up might be.

Marijuana.com was also able to reach out to Lisa Sánchez, Manager of Drug Policy for México Unido Contra la Delincuencia (Mexico United Against Crime), to get their take on the perceived delay.

The approved legislative reforms were voted by the lower house on April 28th. To enact the new law, the Executive (President) has 30 days to make comments and exert his veto power, and an extension of 10 more days to sign it off,” said Sánchez. “That means that if Congress had sent the approved reforms to the Executive the same day they were voted, the President should have published the new legal framework on June 7th. [However,] we have information confirming that the House of Representatives didn’t send the approved reforms to the Executive until May 11th, which means the President still has until June 20th to publish it.”

Sánchez is confident that the bill will be signed and enacted into law and doesn’t think that the President has any issues with the legislation. “We don’t think Peña Nieto will block this process or is in disagreement with the resulting law, as he himself sent the decree project to Congress allowing for medical marijuana in April 2016.”

If that wasn’t enough confidence, there’s also a political safety net in Mexico that can be executed, should the President fail to sign the bill before his deadline. “The Constitution mandates that, when the President fails to enact a particular law or piece of legislation within the established deadlines, it is to the president of the house of origin of that particular legislation (in this case the Senate) to publish it within the next 10 days. This means that, in theory, the new legislation should be ready by June 30th.”

For the moment, Mexico sits at the stoplight of history as the country holds its breath waiting for Peña Nieto’s pen to meet paper. A simple signature that will change the face of medicine for citizens who cry out in need of relief.

That assistance can’t come soon enough, but we’ve been reassured that it is on its way.

About Author

Jonathan Hiltz has been a journalist, a TV producer and marijuana advocate for over sixteen years. He has a wife, two young children and lives in the Toronto area.

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