Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled to decriminalize the recreational use of marijuana on Monday, paving the way for legalization efforts by the government.
Although a previous decriminalization bill didn’t find enough support in Congress, the Supreme Court’s ruling says it is unconstitutional to prohibit the non-medical use of marijuana or THC. Legalization efforts have been endorsed by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and his administration, however they have run into opposition from lawmakers.
With the Supreme Court decision, Mexico’s health ministry has the right to give people permits to consume or grow small amounts of marijuana.
“A historic day for freedom,” Supreme Court Judge Arturo Zaldívar wrote on his Twitter account. “The right to free development of the personality is consolidated in the case of recreational or recreational use of marijuana. The court reiterates and reaffirms that its only obligation is to the constitution.”
Activists believe that the decision will help reverse the terrible effects of drug trafficking in the country and the violence that has been perpetrated by cartels. More than 240 tons marijuana were seized by the government last year.
Proponents also cite the immediate boost legalization could give an economy suffering from COVID-19. A global consultancy firm estimated that legalization could lead to a country of 1.3 million people. $5-6 billion in tax revenue by 2025. Additionally, the industry could see thousands of jobs opening up, which could lead to increased employment.
The new rules allow anyone aged 18 or older to apply to health ministry to obtain up to 28 grams of cannabis. People who possess or cultivate more than eight cannabis plants in their homes will still face possible jail sentences and fines.
A 2016 survey about drugs in Mexico revealed that nearly 2 million Mexicans regularly used marijuana and that 7.3 million Mexicans have tried it at one time or another.
Since 2014, Michael has been a Latin America reporter. He has lived in Costa Rica, Colombia, and Mexico. His work from the region was published in Vice, The Associated Press and The Guardian.