Marijuana in Mexico: legalization received unanticipated support from the Mexican Supreme Court, in a recent ruling, that is churning up talk and debate among Mexico’s politicians, court officials, and citizens.
The court’s 4-1 decision in favor of legal marijuana runs counter to strict drug laws in Mexico. There are also those who believe greater access and some degree of policy and regulation—as opposed to the zero tolerance, “American-backed” anti-drug campaign—will lead to even more drug abuse, more addicts, and have little or no effect on Mexico’s problem of cartels, drug trafficking, and the violence produced by both.
Although the criminal court ruling does not in effect legalize marijuana outright or strike down Mexico’s existing cannabis prohibitionist laws, it does allow the four individuals of a group known as Smart (from the Spanish acronym) to plant cannabis, transport it, and smoke recreational marijuana.
It also sets motions and the legal precedent in place for future pro-cannabis rights legislation within Mexico, which seems especially timely as more and more states, provinces, and countries are asking the question, should marijuana be legalized?
The argument and the basis for the decision, according to the court—as well as many proponents for legalizing marijuana—is that recreational marijuana prohibition could infringe on personal freedoms. The group itself argued that the long-time drug policy in Mexico has been “ineffective and regressive,” that it does not only disrupt their lives, but for the nation a more reformed approach to marijuana could lead to a downswing in its use and associated violence.
In Mexico, for many Mexicans who wish to see a legal medicinal and recreational cannabis, it’s not just a question of whether or not it should be legalized but, rather, where is marijuana legal.
See this video of marijuana proponents toking in support for the cause and Mexico’s President’s talking publicly in response to the issue.
The trend toward decriminalization, medical use, and fully legal marijuana states in the United States has some of Mexico’s politicians and its citizenry feeling like there is a double-standard in play, or that times have changed, at least, and certain zero-tolerance policies have shown to be ineffective. Or, if there is not sufficient evidence to support them, then why should they go on?
Other Latin American countries are asking similar questions.
This is a discrepancy and injustice that even Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, a close friend and supporter of the U.S., has pointed out: why are the poor farmers in Colombia being jailed for growing cannabis crops, when the number of marijuana legal states is on the rise in the U.S.?
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, historically against drug law reform, has recognition and respect for this latest ruling, and an understanding that the marijuana issue remains open.
New laws have decriminalized marijuana possession of up to 5 grams, while growing and selling in Mexico are still illegal.