Mexico’s Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that the nation’s ban on recreational marijuana is unconstitutional, effectively leaving it to lawmakers to regulate consumption of the plant, reports the Associated Press.
In its ruling he court found that adults have a fundamental right to personal development which lets them decide their recreational activities without interference from the state.
“That right is not absolute, and the consumption of certain substances may be regulated, but the effects provoked by marijuana do not justify an absolute prohibition of its consumption,” the ruling said.
According to health regulators in Mexico, the nation will legalize the sale of marijuana-based medicines, foods, drinks, cosmetics and other products early next year.
Arturo Tornel, spokesman for health regulator Cofepris, said that the agency plans to formally publish the regulation for pot-based goods within days, allowing those items to enter the Mexico market as soon as a month later, reports Reuters. Tornel notes that Cofepris expects distributors and retailers to import the items, with some companies eventually producing items in Mexico using marijuana grown abroad. The regulation does not apply to sales of pure marijuana.
Supporters of the move expect that it will help to reduce the wealth of drug cartels, which use marijuana as a major source of income.
A bill to legalize medical marijuana in Mexico has officially been passed into law, according to President Enrique Peña Nieto.
The new law directs the Ministry of Health to draft and implement regulations, with “public policies regulating the medicinal use of pharmacological derivatives of cannabis sativa, indica and Americana or marijuana, including tetrahydrocannabinol, its isomers and stereochemical variants, as well as how to regulate the research and national production of them.”
The new law was passed by the nation’s lower house of parliament in April with an overwhelming vote of 371 to 11. “The ruling eliminates the prohibition and criminalization of acts related to the medicinal use of marijuana and its scientific research, and those relating to the production and distribution of the plant for these purposes,” the Lower House said in a statement on its website after its passage.
Today, in a 4 to 1 vote, Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled that the prohibition of the consumption and cultivation of marijuana for personal use is unconstitutional. The Court determined that the prohibition of the consumption of marijuana – and its cultivation for non-commercial ends – violates the human right to the free development of one’s personality. This landmark case could lead to the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes if followed up with legislation.
“This vote by Mexico’s Supreme Court is extraordinary for two reasons: it is being argued on human rights grounds and it is taking place in one of the countries that has suffered the most from the war on drugs,” said Hannah Hetzer, Senior Policy Manager of the Americas at the Drug Policy Alliance. “Uruguay became the first country to legalize marijuana, Canada is expected soon to follow suit, medical marijuana initiatives are spreading throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and marijuana is legal in a number of U.S. states. Now with this landmark decision out of Mexico, it is clear that the Americas are leading the world in marijuana reform.”
Tomorrow, October 28th, the Mexico Supreme Court will take the historic step of considering the legalization of recreational cannabis. The court will be deciding whether or not it’s unconstitutional for the nation to prohibit possession and cultivation of the plant.
“This debate in Mexico’s Supreme Court is extraordinary for two reasons: because it is being argued on human rights grounds, and because it is taking place in one of the countries that has suffered the most from the war on drugs”, says Hannah Hetzer of the Drug Policy Alliance. “In the eight years since former President Felipe Calderon ramped up the militarized response to drugs and trafficking, the surge of violence has led to the death of 100,000 people and the disappearance of 25,000 in Mexico.”
On October 28, the Mexico Supreme Court is set to discuss a proposal that would effectively legalize the possession, use and production of cannabis for recreational purposes.
According to Reuters, judges will vote on whether to declare unconstitutional parts of a federal health law prohibiting the growth and consumption of cannabis after a nonprofit group filed an injunction against a 2013 decision by health regulator Cofepris. According to documents on the supreme court’s website, the hearing date is set for October 28.