Cannabis law reformers were understandably ecstatic when the Liberal Party, led by Justin Trudeau, secured a majority of the seats in the Canadian Parliament, as the winning political party included marijuana legalization in its campaign platform. Reform advocates may just have another reason to celebrate if Mexico’s Supreme Court votes to legalize marijuana for personal use and cultivation. If the vote goes as cannabis law reform activists hope, the United States could soon be bordered by two countries that have legalized marijuana.
Throw in the fact that more than 20 states have legalized medical cannabis, four states and the nation’s capital have legalized adult use and more states are sure to amend laws to allow legalization, both recreationally and medically, it is easy to see that the momentum to end cannabis prohibition is only picking up steam in the United States. If both Mexico and Canada join Uruguay, the global momentum is only increasing as well, and will only increase if the United States doesn’t stand in the way of common sense reforms.
Mexico’s opportunity before the country’s highest court arose due to a petition filed by local activists based upon libertarian principles of personal freedom and responsibility. Even if cannabis use by citizens isn’t desired by the government, does any proven detrimental impacts give rise to government intervention that includes arrest and imprisonment? And if so, wouldn’t the same rationale allow the government to use the same police powers to prevent overeating of foods that are considered unhealthy?
Here’s hoping that Mexico will take a small step forward in ending the Drug War that is devastating the nation. Just as ending alcohol prohibition took money and power away from gangsters like Al Capone, ending prohibition in Mexico (and the United States) will do the same for the cartels that have destabilized the country. Legalizing the personal use and cultivation of cannabis won’t end Mexico’s Drug War by any means, but it will demonstrate positive movement that will benefit the Mexican people and will reverberate across the globe.
Below is a press release from the Drug Policy Alliance regarding this important court case:
Mexico’s Supreme Court to Decide on Right to Consume and Cultivate Marijuana
Landmark Case Could Pave the Way for Marijuana Legalization
On Wednesday, Mexico’s Supreme Court will debate whether the prohibition of the consumption and cultivation of marijuana for personal use is unconstitutional. The Court will determine whether the prohibition of the consumption of marijuana – and its cultivation for non-commercial ends – violates the human right to the free development of one’s personality. This landmark case could lead to the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes if followed up with legislation.
“This debate in Mexico’s Supreme Court is extraordinary for two reasons: because it is being argued on human rights grounds, and because it is taking place in one of the countries that has suffered the most from the war on drugs,” said Hannah Hetzer, Senior Policy Manager of the Americas at the Drug Policy Alliance.
The public debate on marijuana has surged in Mexico in recent months since the case of an 8-year old girl with epilepsy who became Mexico’s first medical marijuana patient made national and international headlines. The government granted the right to import and administer a cannabis-based treatment for the young patient.
“It is unprecedented for the Supreme Court to introduce a human rights dimension to the debate on drug policy,” said Lisa Sanchez, Latin American Programme Manager for Transform Drug Policy Foundation and México Unido Contra la Delincuencia. “If the Court recognizes that the prohibition of marijuana consumption and cultivation for non-commercial purposes limits the right to the free development of one’s personality, it may determine that various articles in the General Health Act are unnecessarily punitive. This could would give citizens the possibility to cultivate marijuana for personal use without having to turn to the underground market.”
Marijuana reform has gained unprecedented momentum throughout the Americas. In the United States, Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, and Washington D.C. have legalized marijuana for adults. In December 2013, Uruguay became the first country in the world to legally regulate marijuana. In Canada, the new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal Party have promised to legalize marijuana. There are currently medical marijuana legalization bills being debated in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Mexico.
Tony Newman 646.335.5384
Hannah Hetzer 917.701.7060