Mexico’s Supreme Court by a 4-1 margin ruled in a case on Wednesday that could open the door to legalizing the recreational use of marijuana.
A majority of magistrates of the high court’s criminal chamber declared unconstitutional portions of the national health law that have allowed he government to prohibit personal use of marijuana. The decision thus allows for the “ludic” use, growth and consuming of marijuana exclusively for personal usage.
“The Supreme Court calls on all institutions related to public policy on drugs to revise the current prohibitionist model,” said judge José Ramón Cossío. Doing so would help refocus the problems with drugs as a public health issue, he added.
“The absolute prohibition (of marijuana) is excessive and does not protect the right to health,” noted justice Olga Sánchez Cordero. “Recreational use of marijuana should be authorized in order to respect personal liberties,” she also mentioned.
The decision only applies to the four individual plaintiffs belonging to a cannabis club and who brought up the lawsuit, and the ruling does not have the power to overturn laws currently on the books regarding drugs.
Prior to the ruling, Mexican national security chief Manuel Mondragón expressed his rejection against any proposal to legalize marijuana. “I don’t want to live in a society addicted to marijuana,” said Mondragón, who also claimed that over half of consumers in Mexico are minors.
Despite Mondragón’s criticism, the high court’s ruling could be an antecedent to Congressional action towards decriminalizing marijuana usage. Legislative leaders representing the ruling PRI, conservative PAN and leftist PRD said they would be willing to debate the marijuana issue though refrained from providing any strong opinions. President Enrique Peña Nieto, meanwhile, called on federal health officials to publicly explain the impact of the high court verdict.
This would be a step in the right direction for the likes of Raúl Elizade, the father of a young girl with a severe form of epilepsy that can cause her to endure as many as 400 seizures each day. A judge last September allowed for the importation of a cannabis oil to help treat Grace Elizade but authorities have reportedly been uncooperative:
With regards to medical marijuana, he said that there is no need for discussion but should be “approved immediately.”
In an interview with Radio Red, Raúl Elizade explained how health officials have tired diligently to overturn a judicial order allowing imports of a marijuana-based medicine (Cannabidiol). This impedes his daughter from receiving the treatment.Since 2009, it is legal in Mexico to carry a personal dose of either five grams of marijuana or half a gram of cocaine. Its production and commercialization continues to be illegal.
The debate over marijuana use in Latin America has led several former and current leaders to question the U.S.-led “war on drugs.” Marijuana decriminalization measures have passed in countries like Uruguay and Chile, and are being considered in states such as Brazil and Costa Rica.
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Online Sources (English) – El Pais, Reuters, El Comercio, BBC News
Online Sources (Spanish) – Univision Noticias, La Jornada, El Universal, Quadratin Mexico