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Mexico’s Supreme Court Decriminalizes Cannabis

By Leo Bear-McGuinness

Published: Jun 29, 2021   
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Mexico’s Supreme Court has removed the laws prohibiting the use of recreational cannabis, effectively decriminalizing the drug for adults.

In a move separate to the ongoing efforts in the country’s Congress to pass its cannabis legalization bill, the court ruled in an 8-3 decision on Monday, June 28, that the laws preventing personal consumption and home cultivation were unconstitutional.

Any adult now wishing to cultivate and consume their own cannabis will be able to apply for permits from the country's health regulator, the Federal Commission for Protection against Health Risks. Once permitted, an adult can legally possess up to 28 grams of the drug. Similarly, once permitted, anyone over the age of 18 can possess up to 8 plants for personal use at home.

However, criminal penalties for selling or possessing more than five grams of marijuana will remain in place. Selling to minors, consuming in public places, and driving vehicles under the effects of cannabis will also remain illegal.

“Today is a historic day for liberties,” Supreme Court president Arturo Zaldívar said at the end of the session.

Prior to this historical legal move, adults in Mexico could petition courts for individual injunctions to grow and consume cannabis.

For years, legal efforts have also been underway to fully legalize and regulate cannabis. A bill which would do so was approved by Mexico’s Senate last November, but, following several delays and revisions, has still yet to be implemented.

Should the bill one day pass, Mexico would become the third country to legally allow recreational cannabis access nationwide. Due to its population size, the country would also become the world’s largest recreational cannabis market.


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