In yet another blow to anti-pot crusaders, the Supreme Court of Mexico has ruled that prohibition of cannabis violates citizens’ rights, arguing that freedom of personal development allows adults to choose the recreational activities they want to engage in - without the government interfering.
“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 stated, as reported by The Washington Post.
The rulings stem from two separate cases and echo similar judgements from three others within the last several years. According to the Mexican constitution, if the Supreme Court makes five similar rulings on a subject, then that ruling must be implemented into federal law.
While the decisions do not automatically make recreational cannabis legal in Mexico, lawmakers are now tasked with deciding how they want to proceed with regards to building a regulated market.
“With the existence of five precedents in the same vein on the subject, the judgment will be mandatory for all courts in the country,” the high court stated.
Support for the repeal of cannabis prohibition has grown in Mexico over the last several years, particularly in order to combat black market activity by drug cartels, who are responsible for inciting violence across the country.
Much of the marijuana grown by cartels ends up being smuggled into the United States, and proponents of legalization argue it will take reform in both countries in order to defeat these criminal enterprises.
President-Elect of Mexico Andrés Manuel López Obrador has appeared to be on board with legal cannabis, stating on the campaign trail that he encourages a change in the way the country treats drug users.
His pick for interior secretary during the presidential transition, Olga Sánchez Cordero, has been outspoken in her support for marijuana law reform, stating she will argue for decriminalization once the new cabinet takes over in December.
Former President Vicente Fox has been pushing for the legalization of cannabis both at home in Mexico and abroad for several years now. The politician (and board member of cannabis company Khiron Life Sciences) applauded the Supreme Court’s decision, as well as a follow-up statement from Federal Commission for the Protection of Health Risks (COFEPRIS) which plans to develop the regulations for the country’s market.
"With today's announcement we are gradually seeing the move towards a much-needed framework for legalized cannabis in Mexico,” Fox said in a press release. “This is something I have long advocated for; It's good for business, for health and importantly for the social fabric of our country.”