The Supreme Court of Mexico officially decriminalized cannabis nationwide on Monday after ruling that the cannabis prohibition clause under the nation’s health law was unconstitutional.
The high court’s latest ruling came after a 2018 decision that determined cannabis prohibition was unconstitutional and called for federal lawmakers to enact a cannabis legalization law. Lawmakers have so far failed to agree on such a law, however, which prompted the justices to reconsider the issue—and eight of the 11 judges ultimately supported the decision.
“Today is a historic day for liberties.” — Justice Arturo Zaldivar, court president, in a statement
Since the Supreme Court’s 2018 ruling, the footdragging of federal lawmakers encompassed three missed deadlines and several deadline extensions, the latest of which came and went on April 30, 2021. Earlier in April, lawmakers appeared to reach a deal after the House voted to approve a Senate legalization bill but ultimately the deal fell through when Senate leaders contested some of the revisions made in the lower body.
Under the latest ruling, adults in Mexico can apply for a permit from the Federal Committee for Protection from Sanitary Risks (Cofepris) allowing them to obtain and possess cannabis—if approved, adults 18 and older are now allowed to possess up to 28 grams of cannabis. Cofepris will also be awarding permits for the cultivation and harvesting of cannabis plants.
“With these actions by the Court, the United States has become an island of federal marijuana prohibition in North America,” said Paul Armentano, Deputy Director of NORML, in a press release.
Overall, the court ruling was praised by cannabis reform advocates but they say legislative action to establish a regulated cannabis marketplace is still necessary. Some lawmakers have expressed interest in a special legislative session later this year to tackle the issue. If approved, Mexico would become the world’s largest adult-use cannabis marketplace by population.
Mexico legalized the medical use of cannabis in 2017.
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