Mexico’s Senate will vote on a bill that would legalize cannabis for recreational purposes within the next week, according to a leading lawmaker.

Sen. Ricardo Monreal, the Senate majority leader of President Lopez Obrador’s MORENA party, said the vote would happen by the end of the week or early next week. “The end of the prohibitionist policy is good for the country,” said Monreal.

He confirmed that the proposed law would regulate personal use and sales of recreational cannabis, along with research into it. It will also explore the creation of growing cooperatives and a regulatory agency to monitor the industry.

If the bill passes through the Senate, it will head to the lower chamber of Congress for a vote before it can be written into law. Obrador’s MORENA party holds a majority in both chambers and it is keen to legalize adult-use marijuana in order to help end the war on drugs that has ravaged Mexico for years.

The Supreme Court ordered the federal government to legalize recreational marijuana use by the end of October 2019 when it ruled last year that a blanket ban on recreational cannabis use is unconstitutional. It sided with two complainants who argued that such a ban impinged upon their fundamental right to personal development, a decision which left the government obliged to legalize it.

Earlier this month, the leader of MORENA in the lower house, Mario Delgado, proposed a General Law for the Control of Cannabis would set up a state-owned company called Cannsalud to control the supply chain. Cannsalud – a portmanteau of cannabis and health – would have the exclusive rights to purchase cannabis from legal growers and then distribute it to recreational cannabis stores across Mexico.

However, Obrador and Monreal both said they were not keen on that idea, and Delgado has now backtracked. Monreal confirmed that the government would prefer to leave the market more open and competitive.

Khiron Life Sciences Corp. (TSXV: KHRN), whose board includes former Mexican President Vicente Fox, is among the companies working with the government to guide legislation to legalize both adult-use and medical cannabis in Mexico. “The legalization of medical and adult-use cannabis will be a historic moment for 130 million people across Mexico,” said country manager Luis Chaves.

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