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Mexico’s 5-gram marijuana law goes up in smoke

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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.
In 2018, Mexico’s highest court ruled that prohibiting the possession of marijuana is unconstitutional — but lawmakers have now been dragging their feet for years. Photo: Courtesy

Mexico’s Supreme Court has invalidated a long-standing law that limited recreational marijuana possession to five grams. 

As a result, the possession of any amount of marijuana in Mexico is no longer technically illegal as long as it is for recreational purposes. 

This ruling is seen by marijuana industry observers as yet another step toward Mexico’s long road to complete legalization of the drug.

But despite several court rulings defending the constitutionality of recreational pot, legislation to support it has been extremely slow.  

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.

But as this due date came and went, marijuana appears to slowly become legal by de facto rather than legal decree. 

Shops selling marijuana paraphernalia such as bongs and rolling papers have been popping up all over Mérida in recent years. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht / Yucatán Magazine

Nevertheless, pro-marijuana activists argue that full legalization is necessary to avoid abuses of power on the part of authorities. 

Earlier: Lawmakers not happy with marijuana market next to the Mexican Senate

Contributing to the legal ambiguity of marijuana in Mexico is the fact that President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has come out against full legalization, calling it “immoral.”

But despite its legal status, the use of marijuana and marijuana products in Mexico has become relatively ubiquitous. 

Mérida even briefly had a marijuana-friendly cafe, though the establishment was quickly closed by local authorities under the pretext that it lacked the necessary licensing. 

There have also been several instances of activists seeding marijuana plants around town and in parks as an act of civil disobedience. 

“The congress and senate are 100% to blame. They had a clear mandate from the Supreme Court, but they chose to simply run out the clock,” said Cuauhtli Laguna Peraza of the pro-marijuana collective Dzac Yah.

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