The Mexican Supreme Court has made a historic ruling, declaring that the prohibition of recreational cannabis consumption was in contradiction of the country’s constitutional protections for “the free development of personality.” However, the ruling does not open a free for all, and there will still be restrictions about who can consume recreational cannabis, and where they are permitted to do so.
Mexico’s Supreme Court of Justice approved a historic ruling that overruled the prohibition of recreational cannabis use in the country, but recreational cannabis will still have some limitations.
These are the keys to the declaration of unconstitutionality, approved by eight of the 11 magistrates in general and nine in the specifications, which overturned the articles of the General Health Law that prohibited recreational cannabis consumption, self-cultivation, and transportion.
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Permits for recreational cannabis consumption
The Court endorsed that Mexicans of legal age may consume, sow, cultivate, harvest, prepare, possess, and transport recreational cannabis and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the plant’s main psychoactive component.
As long as the Mexican Congress continues without regulating the matter, the Ministry of Health will have to issue authorizations for recreational cannabis which, until now, could only be consumed through judicial injunctions.
In addition, when the declaration is published in the Official Gazette of the Federation (DOF), the Federal Commission for the Protection against Health Risks (Cofepris) will have to draft the guidelines for the acquisition of the seed.
Thus, the General Health Law, which only allowed the consumption of cannabis “for medical and scientific purposes,” was reformed.
Commercialization of Recreational Cannabis Prohibited
In its decision, the Court also stipulated limitations to recreational cannabis, since it prohibited consumption by minors. It has also prohibited recreational cannabis consumption in places where it could affect third parties who have not provided authorization.
It also ruled out driving vehicles under the influence of recreational cannabis, or any other type of activity that could endanger others.
In addition, the declaration clearly establishes that “in no case” Cofepris will be able to give permits to import, trade, supply or distribute recreational cannabis.
Businessmen such as former President Vicente Fox (2000-2006) have claimed that Mexico has enormous potential to create the largest legal recreational cannabis market in the world.
The company Canncura, dedicated to medical cannabis, lamented that “the nascent cannabis industry will not emerge from the scenario of uncertainty” with the Court’s ruling and urged Congress to regulate the recreational cannabis market.
A Long Journey Ahead
The Supreme Court’s decision came after a long road that ended a century of recreational cannabis prohibition in the country.
After several appeals by recreational cannabis consumers, the Supreme Court considered the prohibition unconstitutional for violating “the free development of personality,” and ordered Congress in 2019 to regulate the matter.
Although the Senate approved last November a law that made Mexico the third country in the Americas to regulate recreational cannabis after Uruguay and Canada, the Chamber of Deputies modified some aspects and the text returned to the Senate without generating consensus.
Last April 30, the third and last deadline set by the Court for legislators to regulate cannabis expired, so the high court approved this Monday the declaration of unconstitutionality.
The decision was celebrated by the members of the Mexican Cannabis Movement, which has been camped in front of the Senate for more than a year to demand legalization of recreational cannabis, and which this Sunday went to the Court to ask for the end of the prohibition.
(Featured image by Jezael Melgoza via Unsplash)
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Anne Kings is a reporter for the financial sector, often tackling Wall Street and shareholders’ interests. She also covers the intersection of media and technology, and delves into interesting topics on entertainment. Sometimes she also writes about the cannabis industry, in particular CBD and hemp. She is currently based in New York.