The processing of legislative bills in Congress is always complicated due to the time factor. The reform that intends to regulate the consumption of recreational cannabis was sunk by the last legislature in its eighth and last debate for not achieving a qualified majority.
However, although the initiative for recreational cannabis was resubmitted and seemed to have a greater consensus, such a situation is far from being a reality due to the campaign for mayors and governors.
“The truth is that I do not remember when there was so much absenteeism in Congress during election time. It is usual that in these times the attendance in the legislature decreases, but I have to say that I have never seen an absenteeism like the one we see here lately. It is of such magnitude that now one has to make calculations that no bill is going to pass before October 29th (election day,), said Congressman Juan Carlos Losada, author of the bill.
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Recreational cannabis bill supported by the Government
This situation, according to the representative of the Liberal Party, raises the question of “what day we are going to be able to discuss legislative acts here. If absolute majorities were needed today, everything would be sunk; this is extremely serious and I would like to make a call to my colleagues, that we commit ourselves at least for the few days that we are in session.”
The Minister of Justice Néstor Osuna, who has always pointed out that the national Government fully supports this project, acknowledged the difficulties for its processing after the session of this Wednesday, September 27th, where it was to be voted in a second debate, was adjourned. “Unfortunately the quorum broke up and the session had to be adjourned. I make an important call so that the election campaign activities, which we all know exist, do not tarnish the legislative work,” he said.
The hurdles to the legalization of recreational cannabis
The head of the judicial portfolio, therefore, also indicated that “this project is supported by the Government, and it will continue to be so. That is why the Government is calling on the congressmen so that we can pass the bill in the first round before December 16th, because that is the urgency of the legislative acts. I will personally talk to the congressmen to ask them to attend and vote in the sessions; with the criteria they have, but that they attend and vote”.
The issue of the regulation of recreational cannabis consumption is not a minor discussion, and not even now in times of campaigns. Some congressmen who support the project choose not to vote in favor in these circumstances for fear that their electorate will ‘punish’ them in this race. This is taken advantage of by the opponents of the project.
The truth is that the bill regulating recreational cannabis must pass a total of eight debates, divided into first and second rounds: four and four. However, the challenge in the short term will be to guarantee that it can be approved in the second, third, and fourth debates before December 16th, when the ordinary sessions end, because otherwise, it will sink. Its second debate is scheduled to resume the first week of October in the plenary of the House.
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First published in CARACOL RADIO, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
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