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Mexico takes new step towards full marijuana legalization

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
A man in Mexico City celebrates a ruling that does away with laws used to prosecute the possession of marijuana. Photo: Courtesy

In an eight to three decision, Mexico’s Supreme Court struck down all five articles of the federal health code that made possession and consumption of marijuana illegal. 

In 2018, the Supreme Court ruled that banning cannabis violated Mexicans’ constitutional rights. The court instructed legislators to create a legal framework to regulate the production and consumption of marijuana no later than April 30, 2021.

Legal experts say that this new move by the court is designed to spur legislators into action after they failed to reach an agreement before the deadline. 

“It has been a long road, but this ruling consolidates the right to use recreational marijuana and strengthens the constitutional framework to defend this right,” said Supreme Court President Arturo Zaldívar. 

The legal status of marijuana in Mexico inversely reflects the situation of states like California and Colorado in the U.S. where consumption of the drug is legal at a state level, but still illegal federally. 

The ruling by Mexico’s Supreme Court does not cover the commercialization of marijuana, which for all intents and purposes still makes its sale illegal. 

Earlier: Pro-marijuana activists protest law by planting cannabis in Mérida park

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has come out against the legal sale of marijuana, calling it “immoral,” the day after the Supreme Court removed a ban against its recreational use.

This is the first time the President has given his opinion on the matter, contradicting the stated positions of several members of his cabinet and high-ranking officials within his own party. 

It has been widely speculated that the decision by the Supreme Court opens up the possibility to legally grow marijuana for personal use, but this still unclear, as the sale of seeds and saplings is still illegal.

Industry analysts expect Senate debates regarding marijuana commercialization to resume in September.

With a population of over 127 million, Mexico is poised to become the largest legal cannabis market in the world. 

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