Mexico’s Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that the national ban on cannabis use is unconstitutional, signaling the end of prohibition, according to Reuters.
Ruling in favor of two legal challenges filed against the country’s drug laws — which were just the most recent filings in what has been an ongoing, honest look at the effects of cannabis prohibition — Mexico’s highest court has created a precedent for all courts beneath it to follow.
Mexico’s Supreme Court took its first step towards ending cannabis prohibition in 2015, ruling then that citizens should be allowed to cultivate and consume the plant freely. Federal law, however, requires at least five similar rulings in a row on the same issue to prove its unconstitutionality.
The court’s ruling does not immediately legalize cannabis but signals that its prohibition is a violation of Mexicans’ constitutional rights and that “…the effects caused by marijuana do not justify an absolute prohibition on its consumption.”
The court ordered Mexico’s federal health agency COFEPRIS to authorize citizens to use the plant for personal purposes, if they so wish, “albeit without allowing them to market it, or use other narcotics or psychotropic drugs.”
Now, it is up to the legislature to create regulations for the plant’s use, cultivation, and distribution.
Assuming nobody else beats them to the punch, Mexico will become the third nation in the world to unilaterally end its prohibition on cannabis.
“When Congress declares marijuana prohibition unconstitutional in Mexico, the federal government of the United States will be the only prohibitionist jurisdiction left in North America. Canada now has legal marijuana. More than 30 states in the U.S. have some form of marijuana legalization. And now with Mexico legalizing consumption and production, the only drug warriors remaining in North America are President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.” — Froylán Enciso, a drug policy researcher at the Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas
Mexico legalized medical cannabis in 2017.
Mexico’s President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador — who was elected in July but doesn’t take office until December 1 — was voted into office with the expectation he would take action on drug reforms, potentially decriminalizing cannabis and perhaps even regulating the country’s illegal opium trade.