Mexico: Supreme Court Decriminalizes Marijuana For Adult-Use

By Franca Quarneti, via El Planteo.

In Mexico, the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) approved the decriminalization of the adult or recreational use of marijuana.

Thus, with 8 votes in favor and 3 against, the General Declaration of Unconstitutionality (DGI) was approved to invalidate five articles of the General Health Law that absolutely prohibit the recreational use of cannabis.

This way, the Court again obliges Congress to create a regulatory framework for adult consumption of the plant.

Context for the decriminalization of marijuana in Mexico

Lorena Beltrán, CEO of the Mexican cannabis company CannabiSalud, told El Planteo that, “In order to explain what happened today it is important to remember that, since October 2018, it’s been unconstitutional to prohibit people from possessing and using cannabis for personal purposes.

“However, the processes to obtain permits of this nature have been too bureaucratic: one had to request this permit from COFEPRIS, which was generally refused. With this refusal, you’d return to a judge. And, eventually, a jurge would grant you a protection that would ensure COFREPIS could not deny your request,” she added.

And she explained: “It takes many months for COFEPRIS to respond, obtain protection and be able to make use of this right. However, this discussion and the vote in the Supreme Court of Justice took place today. Therefore, COFEPRIS can no longer deny you your permits ".

The resolution comes after the failure of the Mexican Congress to legislate on the issue in the last two years. In fact, on April 30, the deadline that the Court had imposed on Congress to regulate adult consumption expired for the third time.

In addition, according to Infobae, the SCJN was a pioneer in recognizing that the adult use of cannabis is a matter of individual autonomy protected by the right to free development of the personality. From that resolution, the Upper House and the Lower House were forced to legislate on the subject.

Related: Morocco Legalizes Cannabis Cultivation And Commercialization

“Today is a historic day for freedoms. After a long journey, this Supreme Court consolidates the right to the free development of the personality for the recreational use of marijuana ”, declared Arturo Zaldívar, the presiding minister of the Court, once the project was approved.

And now?

After the decriminalization of cannabis, the people of Mexico will be able to smoke marijuana and take it with them, but not without first requesting permission from the Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risks (COFEPRIS).

In this regard, Lorena Beltrán assured, “The process that we have been carrying out will be shortened. COFEPRIS has to give you the immediate positive for the possession and consumption of cannabis for personal purposes .”

But beware, warned the entrepreneur. “If you do not have this permission, the penal code applies as it is.”

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Likewise, Judge Norma Lucía Piña, who presented the bill, clarified that “in no case is it authorized to import, trade or supply” marijuana. In other words, for now, a recreational cannabis market will not be created in Mexico.

Thus, these guidelines will govern following the publication of the DGI in the Official Gazette of the Federation, and while Congress does not legislate in this regard.

“Definitely, today it was won. It is a great step for Mexico. Today the right to free development of the personality is respected. Thus, direct or indirect pressure is also placed on the National Congress to regulate all activities, such as commerce and the cannabis industry in general in Mexico, ” concluded Beltrán hopefully.

Photo via El Planteo.

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