Mexico’s top court ruled that an absolute ban on cannabis for recreational use was unconstitutional. The Supreme Court ruling effectively leaves it to legislators to regulate marijuana consumption.
Mexico’s top court ruled in favor of two legal challenges that were filed against the prohibition of recreational pot. And with that, the Supreme Court crossed the threshold necessary to create jurisprudence. This threshold is five similar orders with regard to the matter.
As such, a precedent has been set in other Mexican courts.
The Supreme Court made its first ruling in November 2015 when it allowed a group of people to grow cannabis for personal use. In its order, the top court stated that the recreational use of cannabis is constitutionally legal as it falls under one’s right to freely develop their own personality.
The effects of the drug, it said, does not justify the absolute prohibition on cannabis consumption.
The court, however, made it clear that the ruling does not create an absolute right for people to use cannabis.
Between 2015 and 2017, the court had issued two more similar rulings.
Following these three previous decisions, the high court issued two rulings ordering that the complainants in individual cases be permitted to use pot for recreational purposes. Specifically, the high court ordered the COFEPRIS (Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risk) to allow the complainants to use cannabis, though not to commercialize the drug or use it with other narcotics and prohibited substances.
The previous and the recent rulings technically don’t legalize the recreational use of pot. However, they do establish that the courts must allow it. In the end, it is still up to individuals to press their case in the judicial system.
Advocates are happy
Fernando Belaunzaran, a member of the opposition Party of the Democratic Revolution and an advocate of drug reform, said that the new ruling made for a historic day.
Since formal legalization would depend on Congress, Belaunzaran said they would now have to act in order to regulate the use of marijuana in the country.
And this may not take long as officials in the incoming administration led by President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador have already expressed a willingness to take the next necessary steps. Incoming lawmakers have indicated their plan to legalize pot quickly as part of a broader strategy to combat crime and poverty.
Mexico United Against Crime, an organization opposing prohibitionist drug policies, agrees. The group stated that Mexico must move toward regulating drugs in order to improve conditions of peace and justice in the country.
Cannabis in Mexico
In June 2017, Mexico legalized medical cannabis when President Enrique Nieto signed the bill that legalizes the use of cannabis for medical purposes and classifies THC as therapeutic.
The policy, however, stipulated that only cannabis products containing up to 1% of THC are allowed.
Mexico’s health department then announced that it was drafting new regulations allowing the sales of cannabis-based products. Starting early this year, the country legalized the sale of cannabis-derived medicines, food, beverages, and cosmetics.