Today, in a 4 to 1 vote, Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled that the prohibition of the consumption and cultivation of marijuana for personal use is unconstitutional. The Court determined that the prohibition of the consumption of marijuana – and its cultivation for non-commercial ends – violates the human right to the free development of one’s personality. This landmark case could lead to the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes if followed up with legislation.
“This vote by Mexico’s Supreme Court is extraordinary for two reasons: it is being argued on human rights grounds and it is taking place in one of the countries that has suffered the most from the war on drugs,” said Hannah Hetzer, Senior Policy Manager of the Americas at the Drug Policy Alliance. “Uruguay became the first country to legalize marijuana, Canada is expected soon to follow suit, medical marijuana initiatives are spreading throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and marijuana is legal in a number of U.S. states. Now with this landmark decision out of Mexico, it is clear that the Americas are leading the world in marijuana reform.”
The public debate on marijuana has surged in Mexico in recent months since the case of an 8-year old girl with epilepsy who became Mexico’s first medical marijuana patient made national and international headlines. The government granted the right to import and administer a cannabis-based treatment for the young patient.
Marijuana reform has gained unprecedented momentum throughout the Americas. In the United States, Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, and Washington D.C. have legalized marijuana for adults. In December 2013, Uruguay became the first country in the world to legally regulate marijuana. In Canada, the new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal Party have promised to legalize marijuana. There are currently medical marijuana legalization bills being debated in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Mexico.