Legislation to legalize medical marijuana in Mexico has gotten tied up in that countrys Congress. Senators shelved the measure for further review after multiple amendments were tacked on to the original bill. Its future is anything but certain.
In the meantime, some patients in Mexico ARE getting treatment with hemp-based products, imported under special permits. As CCTV Americas Franc Contreras reports, epilepsy patients are among the first in line.
Twelve-year-old Carlos Hernandez is one of very few Mexican epilepsy patients with a legal permit to use hemp-based medicines derived from cannabis, the same plant that can be grown to produce marijuana.
Day and night, his mother, Margarita Hernandez, attends to his every need.
Carlos used to take several pharmaceutical products that his mother says were addictive. And he still suffered from severe seizures. Then with assistance of an NGO, Margarita Hernandez obtained legal permission to import a hemp product from the United States.
Ever since Carlos began taking this hemp oil he has not had any convulsions, Margarita says. And the number of medications he takes has decreased.
As demand for these products continues to grow, policies are lagging behind. The debate now shifts over to the Mexican Congress to decide whether Mexicans will have legal access to hemp-based medicine.
California-based Medical Marijuana, Inc. is one of the few foreign companies allowed to sell hemp-based medicines in Mexico granted a special permit. CEO Stuart Titus thinks theres a tremendous opportunity.
We believe that the size of the Mexico market, when cannabis becomes legalized, it will probably rival that size with the California market, Titus said.
And Titus says that means a value of between $10-12 billion a year.
Margarita Hernandez says shes grateful to have the medication, and hopes other epilepsy patients will also benefit.
We are talking about peoples lives, about children, who perhaps are not completely healthy, but who can live a good quality life, she said.
She says that is what any parent would want for a child.