published rules in January covering the growing and research of medicinal cannabis.

Local advocates say the restrictions on possession will limit the bill’s impact, particularly for low-income consumers, who may fall prey to extortion from the police, a regular occurrence in Mexico.

“We live in a country where corruption and extortion is the norm,” said Zara Snapp, co-founder of the RIA Institute, a Mexico-city based drug policy research and advocacy group.

Still, for many proponents in Mexico, approving the bill is a notable step in the long journey toward full legalization.

“It’s like when you’re running a marathon and you haven’t started — running the first meter helps to start the discussion,” said Mr. Sánchez, the marijuana businessman. “It means firing the starting gun, even if we still have 42 kilometers left to go.”

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