Mexico’s Supreme Court Says Cannabis Prohibition Is Unconstitutional, Opens Path to Legalization
The people of Mexico may soon be able to grow, possess and consume cannabis without fear of legal prosecution. That comes thanks to two new rulings handed down by Mexico’s Supreme Court on October 31 that deemed the country’s marijuana prohibition unconstitutional. The court ruling stated that, within certain parameters, Mexican adults should have the right to decide their own recreational activities without the government butting in.
“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.
These two new rulings echo three others that have been handed down by Mexico’s Supreme Court over the past few years. Under Mexican law, once a similar decision on the same topic is made five times, the court ruling must be implemented into federal law.
“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 Court stated of the newest rulings. The court has now demanded that the Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risk to legalize marijuana.
But that doesn’t mean it’s legal to smoke up in Mexico now. While cannabis prohibition has been deemed unconstitutional, it hasn’t been officially legalized yet. The feds have to craft a law to formally repeal the country’s cannabis ban first, so anyone caught with a joint could still be arrested and tried under the current law, though the recent rulings mean such cases would likely be thrown out of court.
Once the Supreme Court’s rulings become law, adults should be able to consume, posses and grow their own cannabis in Mexico. However, the court’s decision doesn’t automatically establish a legal commercial market for weed. Allowing a regulated market would be up to the Mexican government, but that move seems likely given that President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador has expressed support for legalization.
But even if Mexico doesn’t move to create a regulated market, the new law will be a huge win for the legalization movement. And it means the United States will soon be sandwiched between two nations — Canada and Mexico — that have embraced marijuana reform. And that new reality could be enough to force Congress to finally address America’s outdated drug laws.
H/T: Rolling Stone