Mexico has approved the first legal cannabis products for recreational use and sale at retailers and pharmacies across the country.

Government official Julio Sánchez, the head of a federal commission called Cofepris, presented 38 newly authorized hemp products at a press conference. He said his agency, which is in charge of protecting Mexicans against sanitary risks, received applications for 43 products and that 38 of them complied with the new regulations.

They include a variety of teas, drinks, and edibles with a THC level below 1%, produced by seven different companies. Sanchez said the country’s historical debt with cannabis is now settled.

“We have to give great recognition to those who, from activism, from science and from academia, have undoubtedly generated a movement in our country that has led us that we are here today,” he said. He is convinced it represents an important economic opportunity for Mexico to carve out a large slice of a growing global market.

CBD Life is one of the seven firms to gain distribution licenses from Cofepris. Colorado-based Green Lotus is the exclusive supplier to CBD Life and it is excited by the opportunity this represents to build up sales in a country of 130 million people. “This partnership with CBD Life, along with our growing domestic sales volume, will make us one of the largest hemp products companies in the world,” said chief executive Carlos Frias.

Green Lotus uses organic hemp and third-party lab testing to create a range of hemp-derived CBD products. CBD Life can now start immediately distributing those products to more than 4,000 retailers and pharmacies across Mexico.

The country continues to relax its cannabis laws and incoming president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is determined to end the war on marijuana. He believes it is counterproductive and that Mexico should be regulating and taxing the industry rather than jailing farmers and dealers. Cannabis is already legal for medicinal use, with THC levels below 1%, but his incoming government has launched a bill to fully legalize marijuana for personal use too.

Mexico’s Supreme Court has already ruled that a ban on personal use is unconstitutional as it denies people their right to personal expression and development, so the government is compelled to act anyways.

The bill is working its way through committees before a vote in the two-house Congress, where it is likely to meet some opposition. But the tide has certainly turned and a regulated industry is gathering pace in Mexico, with several US and Canadian firms making inroads.

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