Adults in Mexico are to be allowed to apply for permits to grow and consume their own cannabis, after the country’s Supreme Court finally decriminalised recreational weed. The move comes after a frustrating few years in which lawmakers failed to put in place a framework for a legal cannabis market in Mexico, despite being ordered to do so by the Supreme Court itself.
Cannabis Decriminalised But Not Regulated In Mexico
The fact that recreational cannabis has finally been decriminalised in Mexico has understandably been met with a great deal of optimism, although the situation remains somewhat chaotic and far from ideal. While the new ruling allows for permit holders to carry up to 28 grams of weed and cultivate eight plants at home, it doesn’t regulate the sale of cannabis, which means the country still lacks a legal market.
Nonetheless, the fact that people are now allowed to generate their own supply is seen as a big step forward, and hopes are high that this change in policy could weaken Mexico’s notoriously violent cartels, which depend on illegal markets. However, critics say that the only way to truly erode the financial base of these criminal organisations is to create a fully regulated legal cannabis market, with some asserting that all other illicit drugs must also be legalised.
The Long Road To Cannabis Decriminalisation In Mexico
The recent ruling has been a long time coming, with the Mexican Supreme Court first declaring the prohibition of cannabis to be unconstitutional back in October 2018. Lawmakers were then ordered to introduce new legislation that would allow for the creation of a legalised cannabis market, and were given a year in which to do so.
Numerous extensions were then granted, with the deadline moved back to April 2020, then December 2020, and then the end of April 2021. Things started looking good towards the end of last year, when the Mexican Senate approved a bill to legalise cannabis. This law was then tweaked by the Chamber of Deputies and sent back to the Senate for final approval with plenty of time to spare before the final deadline.
However, it soon became apparent that the various factions within the legislature were unlikely to agree on the proposed amendments, leading many to expect lawmakers to request another extension to the deadline. Yet in a surprising twist, no such request was made, meaning the deadline was allowed to lapse without any legislation being passed.
This left the Supreme Court with a decision to make. Having already set out its position regarding the unconstitutionality of cannabis prohibition three years ago, the court held a vote on whether to enact this declaration, in spite of the fact that no framework exists for the establishment of a legal market. The result was pretty resounding, with the ruling passing by eight votes to three.
Having decriminalised cannabis thanks to its Supreme Court, Mexico now faces the challenge of trying to hammer out legislation to regulate the commercial production and sale of weed. In doing so, the country could become the world’s largest legal cannabis market.