© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Marijuana leaves are seen next to Mexico’s Senate building at the protest cannabis garden of the Cannabico Mexican Movement in Mexico City, Mexico November 19, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso/File Photo
By Diego Oré
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s nascent legal cannabis industry on Thursday welcomed its first company authorized to grow at industrial-scale but focused on a booming niche market that mostly sidesteps the mind-altering qualities of the plant’s flowers.
The local unit of Canada’s Xebra Brands is the first company to obtain permits to cultivate, process, produce and market cannabis in Mexico, according to a statement from the firm.
The authorizations mark the latest step of a major shift away from the Mexico’s decades-long criminalization of the plant that was once a major source of revenue for powerful drug gangs.
Xebra Brands’ subsidiary Desart MX obtained a partial greenlight from Mexico’s Supreme Court in late 2021 to import seeds, as well as grow, process, sell and export cannabis products with 1% or less THC, the plant’s psychoactive substance.
Desart MX is more focused on marketing products with another of the plant’s components known as cannabidiol, or CBD, which does not make users high, but instead is used to treat ailments such as insomnia, pain and anxiety.
Mexico’s health regulator COFEPRIS granted final approval in late February, which was noted in a court document this week, according to the company.
In its statement,…