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The end of cannabis prohibition in Mexico: Your questions answered

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

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Last week, cannabis prohibition in Mexico came to an almighty end. The nation’s Supreme Court made the unanimous decision to end the country’s ban on recreational cannabis consumption, a move that marks significant progress for Mexico’s undeveloped cannabis industry.

With cannabis prohibition in Mexico officially over, you might be fooled into thinking that weed is now legal in this part of the world. However, you’d be wrong. Despite the fact that prohibition has been lifted, no new cannabis laws have been put into place… yet. Because of this, it is uncertain whether or not lawmakers will expand legalization countrywide or conversely, enact a stricter set of laws regarding cannabis consumption.

Until the rules are clarified, it’s worth familiarizing yourself with the details surrounding cannabis prohibition in Mexico. So, without further ado, let’s answer some common questions about what the recent Supreme Court ruling means for the industry and Mexican pot lovers.

Is weed legal now that cannabis prohibition in Mexico is over?

Not quite. Under the recent issuing of rules by Mexico’s Supreme Court, adults maintain the right to use cannabis for recreational or “adult-use” purposes. What this means is that weed is no longer banned. Notwithstanding, it’s not legal either. By putting an end to cannabis prohibition in Mexico, lawmakers have entitled Mexicans to cultivate, possess and consume the plant for personal use, without being penalized for it.

In addition to this, Mexicans can share a joint, edible or any other type of cannabis-laced product with fellow pot-appreciating adults. From this moment on, any individual who may be charged with consumption can request that their charges be overthrown by referring to the new set of cannabis rules in Mexico.  

“The Supreme Court has done its job,” said the court’s director general, Lisa Sanchez, in a post-ruling statement. “The responsibility for issuing the corresponding regulation falls on congress.”

What will happen now that cannabis prohibition in Mexico has ended?

Although the laws have not been modified as of yet, industry experts say that consumers no longer need to worry about being charged for growing, using or carrying cannabis on their person. Consumers shouldn’t light up a joint in public just yet, however. It is still possible for law enforcement officers to arrest and even prosecute Mexicans for cannabis consumption, based on the country’s current set of anti-pot laws. On the other hand, defendants could fight back on the basis that the laws cannot be enforced, due to the fact they have been acknowledged as unconstitutional.

Is Mexico likely to legalize cannabis now that prohibition has ended?

Things look promising for Mexico’s cannabis industry. In the latter part of October, President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s cabinet members embarked on a trip to the Great White North for the purpose of debating legalization with Canadian officials. Canada officially began selling recreational weed across all provinces on October 17. Now that cannabis prohibition in Mexico has come to an abrupt end, Mexican lawmakers have just 90 days to refresh the country’s drug laws, so that they adhere with the recent Supreme Court rulings. Nonetheless, it is not certain what will happen as a result of this.

Will cannabis be sold in a commercial setting in Mexico?

The only way to get your hands on cannabis in Mexico, for now at least, will be via the black market. Under the existing laws, it is not legally allowed to buy cannabis in the country. Commercializing cannabis has been restricted by the Supreme Court, but there’s a chance that cannabis sales could still be legalized when the nation’s drug laws are revisited in the very near future. However, the latest Supreme Court rulings don’t say anything about selling cannabis in a retail setting.

How and why did the Supreme Court end cannabis prohibition in Mexico?

Between the years of 2015 and 2017, the Supreme Court ruled to relieve the ban on recreational cannabis. Two additional rulings last week meant that the rules became a binding precedent on Mexico’s courts.

Why? When the Supreme Court rules five times on a specific topic, the rule is then enacted. The court’s reason for ruling to end cannabis prohibition in Mexico was down to the “right to the free development of the personality.” Banning weed interrupted that right, according to the Supreme Court. This constitutional doctrine can be found in the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights and therefore we are all entitled to that right.

“The imposition of a single standard of healthy living is not admissible in a liberal state, which bases its existence on the recognition of human uniqueness and independence,” argued a group called the Mexican Society for Responsible and Tolerant Consumption in a previous document. The group believes that cannabis consumption is a personal choice that provides people with an opportunity to grow, indulge in new experiences and distinguish themselves from society. 

A member of the group named Andrés Aguinaco says that the use of the constitutional right was a tactic “different from the overall legalization debate [in Mexico], which focuses on drug-war death tolls and disappearances.” Aguinaco is a lawyer who is participating in the efforts to rescind cannabis prohibition in Mexico. “We’re arguing that the government is infringing on the constitutional doctrine of the free development of personality,” he said to The Atlantic in 2015.

Will tourists be allowed to consume cannabis in Mexico?

It is not advisable, what with the country’s anti-pot laws still in place. While it may be possible for a citizen of Mexico to campaign against a weed-related charge, tourists may not have the time or resources to evade potential charges.

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The end of cannabis prohibition in Mexico: Your questions answered