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Mexico's Supreme Court Effectively Legalizes Marijuana Possession, Cultivation, and Use [FEATURE]

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #1044)
Drug War Issues

In an earth-shaking development, Mexico's Supreme Court ruled last Wednesday that the country's prohibition of marijuana use, possession, and personal cultivation is unconstitutional. The decision came in a pair of cases challenging the ban on weed, and because these rulings mark the fifth time the court has ruled similarly, the opinions are now legal precedent in the country.

The high court in Mexico City based its decision on constitutional protections of individual autonomy.

"The fundamental right of the free development of the personality allows adults to choose -- without any interference -- what recreational activities they desire to undertake and protects all the activities necessary to make that choice… The effects of marijuana consumption do not justify an absolute prohibition of its use," the court held.

But the court also noted explicitly that the right to grow, possess, and consume marijuana "is not absolute and the consumption of certain substances can be regulated."

That means it will be up to lawmakers to come up with rules around the legal use of marijuana, as well as any move toward a regulated, legal marijuana market in the country. And that is likely to happen: Parties backing President-Elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO), who is supportive of marijuana legalization and open to considering broader legalization, control absolute majorities in both the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies.

In its rulings, the high court ordered the federal health regulatory agency, COFEPRIS, to authorize the use of marijuana by adults who choose to do so, but it also added: "albeit without allowing them to market it, or use other narcotics or psychotropic drugs."

Mexico has already decriminalized both pot possession and the possession of personal use amounts of other illicit drugs.

Coming less than two weeks after Canada's marijuana legalization came into effect, the striking decision by the Mexican Supreme Court is only going to add to the pressure to advance federal marijuana legalization here in the US.

"This is extraordinary because it is taking place in one of the countries that has suffered the most from the war on drugs," said Hannah Hetzer, senior international policy manager for the Drug Policy Alliance. "With marijuana already legal in Canada, now both of the US's neighbors will have legal marijuana, making the US federal government's prohibition of marijuana even more untenable."

If the Democrats take control of the House this week, expect to see a strong push for federal legalization, along the lines that Congressional Cannabis Caucus founder Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) laid out earlier this month. If the Republicans retain control of the Senate, as is widely expected, the upper chamber would be a tougher nut to crack -- but GOP senators may want to reflect on the fact that, according to the most recent Gallup poll, support for legalizing weed is at an all-time high of 66 percent, and even 53 percent of Republican voters now are on board.

This article was produced by Drug Reporter, a project of the Independent Media Institute.

The Drug Policy Alliance is a financial supporter of both Drug War Chronicle and Drug Reporter.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Dain Bramage (not verified)

I've been Green Party since the 90's, but I switched to Democratic this year, in order to participate in the Blue Wave, including Democratic primary elections.  So it is as a progressive Democrat that I say:

Now is the time for the Democrats to abandon the War on Drugs, and renew the forgotten War on Poverty.

Woke Liberals recognize that income equality and poverty breed fascism.  Poverty undermines education, generates class resentment, and provides a fertile breeding ground for propaganda and disinformation. 

The Fight for Fifteen minimum wage campaign, for example, should be a big clue to the unwoke, corporate-owned Democrats.  For a working man or woman, it is not difficult to see: for a person who must work around the clock in order to merely survive and to avoid homelessness, voting is a class luxury beyond their reach.

If that shocks you, then I suspect you've never had to try to survive on minimum wage.

If we want everybody to vote, and we do, then we must make it possible for the working class people to do so without putting their economic survival on the line!!


Mon, 11/05/2018 - 5:10am Permalink
saynotohypocrisy (not verified)

In reply to by Dain Bramage (not verified)

Of course unless someone lives in a swing state it doesn't matter anyway who they vote for for President under our bizarre system

One driver of income inequality is the war on drugs itself.  The alcohol gang has it easy, users of other recreational drugs not so much. I'm not sure how many liberals understand this and take it into account.

I certainly agree with your conclusion.

Mon, 11/05/2018 - 5:42pm Permalink
Garden Extracts (not verified)

Effectively, the United States is colluding with drug cartels by not ending the prohibition of cannabis.

Sat, 11/17/2018 - 9:07am Permalink

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