Mexico Court Ruling Sparks High Hopes for Marijuana Legalization

07.11.2015 15:41

Mexico's Supreme Court on Wednesday
gave the green light to growing
marijuana for recreational use in a
landmark decision that could lead to
legalization in a country with a bloody
history of conflict with drug cartels.
Supporters of reform sparked up joints
to hail the court's decision, which,
while not legalizing use of marijuana,
is one of the boldest steps ever taken in
that direction in a country long
reluctant to liberalize drug laws.
"We've seen how drug policy and
prohibition have only helped drug
traffickers rake in money and commit
terrible crimes to control drug
markets," said 27-year-old Meliton
Gonzalez, one activist celebrating
outside the court.
Four more consecutive decisions of the
same kind and the court's ruling would
become jurisprudence, setting a legal
precedent in Mexico, which has
suffered well over 100,000 deaths due
to drug-related crime over the past
decade, and force the government to
review the law.
Ruling on a case first brought in 2013
by an advocacy group that health
regulators stopped from growing plants
for private consumption, the court
voted 4-1 that prohibiting people from
cultivating the drug for personal use
was unconstitutional.
Proponents of drug reform argue that
criminalizing drugs has only raised
their street value and put unnecessary
strain on the penal system by filling
prisons with low level dealers or
people caught with small amounts.
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto,
who has so far been skeptical about the
merits of liberalizing drug laws,
responded to the ruling by saying on
Twitter it would "open a debate on the
best regulation to inhibit drug
"This does not mean that you can
freely commercialize, consume and
legalize the consumption of
marijuana," Pena Nieto said later,
adding that raids to destroy illegal
marijuana crops would continue
Government officials sought to
reinforce the message on television,
telling the public the ruling was isolated
to the four people who brought the case
and insisting cultivating marijuana
remained illegal for the rest of the
Marijuana, along with cocaine, heroin
and crystal meth, has been a major
source of income for cartels that
authorities say generate billions of
dollars worth of sales annually.