MEXICO CITY, Dec 8 (Reuters) – Mexico’s lower house of Congress has agreed to delay the approval process for a landmark bill to legalize cannabis until 2021 to give lawmakers more time to study it, congressional sources said late on Tuesday.
The bill, which would mark a major shift in a country bedeviled for years by violence between feuding drug cartels, easily passed the Senate in a vote last month, and would create a huge new legal market for marijuana.
Lawmakers are working through a series of pending bills in the final days of Congress before the winter break, after which they will not be in session again until February.
To grant lawmakers more time to study the cannabis bill, the opposition and the alliance fronted by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) agreed to delay it until 2021, two congressional sources said.
The legislation responds to a Supreme Court order mandating that use of the drug be regulated, although the process has been subject to repeated delays, frustrating legalization advocates. Nevertheless, the legislation is ultimately expected to pass.
(Reporting by Dave Graham; Editing by Michael Perry)