Mexico’s Supreme Court ordered the government to issue permits for the personal use of marijuana and for the cultivation of limited quantities of cannabis plants, after the country’s Congress took too long to approve a legalization law limited.
- Mexicans looking to grow or smoke marijuana will be able to apply for a government permit
- Individuals will be allowed to have up to six cannabis plants, limited to eight plants per household
- Medical marijuana has been legal in Mexico since 2017
In 2019, the court ruled that the marijuana ban was unconstitutional and gave parliamentarians until April 30 to pass a law.
In March, the lower house approved a bill to legalize marijuana, but it got bogged down in the Senate.
Under the new court ruling, people who wish to smoke marijuana or grow a few cannabis plants for their own use can apply for a government permit until legislation is enacted.
They should be adults, refrain from using marijuana in the presence of children, and refrain from driving or engaging in other risky activities under the influence.
Similar permits have existed since 2015, but are only granted to people seeking court injunctions.
Under Monday’s decision, the health ministry would be required to accept license applications from the general public.
“A historic day for freedoms,” Supreme Court Justice Arturo Zaldivar Lelo de Larrea wrote on his Twitter.
The use of medical marijuana has been legal in Mexico since 2017 and is permitted in a number of other Latin American countries.
But only Uruguay allows the recreational use of the pot in the region.
The bill approved by the lower house in March would allow the recreational use of marijuana, but would establish a licensing system required for the entire chain of production, distribution, processing and sales.
It would also be necessary for individuals, and not just user associations, to have a permit to cultivate plants for personal use.
Each individual would be allowed to have six plants, with a maximum of eight per household.
Adults could use marijuana without affecting others or children, but if caught with more than one ounce (28 grams) they would be subject to a fine.
They could face jail time if they were over 12 pounds (5.6 kilograms).
Politicians who support the bill say it will move the marijuana market from the hands of powerful Mexican drug cartels to the government.
But experts fear that transnational corporations may be the primary beneficiaries rather than the consumers or farmers who have formed the bottom rung of the marijuana production chain.
AP / Reuters