The Mexican Supreme Court put an end to the country’s debate on recreational marijuana. In an 8-3 decision, the court ruled that adults can legally apply for permits to grow and consume their own cannabis.
However, smoking in public and in front of children remains illegal. In addition, the ruling did not cover any rules on the commercialization of cannabis.
Historic Day For Liberties
Supreme Court president Arturo Zaldívar declared the decision as a welcome one. “Today is a historic day for liberties,” he said. However, some opposition groups said the ruling won’t lead to major and immediate changes.
The non-governmental organization Mexico United Against Crime said the decision “does not decriminalize the activities necessary to carry out consumption” such as possession and transportation. This means that while adults can grow and smoke their own, transporting or possession still carries penalties.
Legalization Bill Stalled In Congress
The Supreme Court’s decision came after a previous bill legalizing cannabis got stuck in Congressional limbo. Mexico’s lower house approved a bill legalizing the recreational use of cannabis in March, but the Senate has yet to take action on it.
This particular legislation allows carrying up to 28g. It also allows adults to cultivate as many as eight plants at home for personal use. However, until the bill becomes law, it’s illegal in Mexico to carry more than five grams.
Supporters of the bill hope the law can reduce the violence caused by the illegal drug trade. The violence claims thousands of lives in the country every year.
Legalizing Weed In Mexico
Prior to the Supreme Court’s decision, Mexican adults can file petitions for individual injunctions to grow and consume cannabis. This started in 2015 when the Supreme Court first granted injunctions 2015 in favor of four applicants seeking injunctions to consume and grow marijuana.
As more and more Mexicans applied for injunctions, the court declared jurisprudence on the issue. In 2017, it ordered Congress to draft laws for creating a legal cannabis market.
However, Congress waffled on the bill. Lawmakers already asked twice for extensions, citing the technical aspects and because of the pandemic. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s ruling Morena party held majorities in both houses since September 2018.
Pro-cannabis groups called out the inaction. “There’s a lack of political will,” said Lisa Sánchez, director-general of the non-governmental group México Unido Contra la Delincuencia.
Congress Still Much Work To Do
The next step is to make sure that Congress will now work on its bill. “This is a step forward for the rights of cannabis users,” said Zara Snapp, co-founder of think thank Instituto RIA. “But there’s still work to be done in congress to be able to regulate the market in a socially just way,” she added.
Watch the WION news video reporting that Mexico decriminalizes Recreational Marijuana use for adults:
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