Mexico’s Supreme Court has ruled that a blanket ban on recreational cannabis use is unconstitutional and the government is now obliged to legalize it.

The Supreme Court has now made five rulings on this issue and that is the threshold needed to create jurisprudence, setting a precedent that all Mexican courts must now follow.

The country’s highest court ruled in favour of two complainants who argued a ban on marijuana impinged upon their fundamental right to personal development. The Supreme Court has now made five rulings on this issue and that is the threshold needed to create jurisprudence, setting a precedent that all Mexican courts must now follow.

All Mexicans are now permitted to consume marijuana for recreational purposes, provided they have the authorization of Cofepris, the Federal Commission for the Protection against Health Risks. It does not create an absolute right to use cannabis, as there could still be certain regulations to adhere to. But Cofepris has been ordered to allow the complainants in these cases to use cannabis for recreational purposes and all other courts must make identical rulings.

Medicinal cannabis is legal in Mexico following a law change in 2017, but recreational marijuana use has remained outlawed. Incoming president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard are keen to roll out a regulated industry as part of their “hugs, not gunfire” campaign to end the war on drugs.

The plans have met with opposition from the likes of the National Union of Family Parents and the Teachers Alliance, but this ruling from La Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación should embolden them as they bid to end prohibition on weed.

Yet there is still some way to go before it will follow in Canada’s footsteps by rolling out a proper cannabis trade. The courts have declared that adults have a fundamental right to personal development that lets them decide their recreational activities without interference from the state. But this does not in any way authorize acts of commerce, distribution, or marketing.

That means Mexicans can legally smoke weed for personal use, but anyone selling it to them would still be breaking the law. The impetus will now be on Obrador’s new government to change the regulatory framework and permit a regulated cannabis supply industry going forwards.

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