By Harley Austin | Mexico
After a long battle in the last few decades to legalize recreational marijuana, the Supreme Court of Mexico has ruled the complete ban of the substance as unconstitutional. While the ruling does not provide the legislation needed to legalize marijuana, it sets the precedent that lower courts will be required to follow and the rest of the Mexican government will have to act on.
Mexico has been battling a long and bloody war on drugs, especially in the last decade. This has been supported by the US due to the large number of illicit substances that are smuggled across the US-Mexico border. However, recent political action has been working to change this, especially the Supreme Court, which has ruled in favor of recreational marijuana many times.
It’s the most recent ruling that’s the game changer in the fight for legal cannabis. To put it simply, if a decision is ruled in favor of five times by the Supreme Court, it sets a precedent that lower courts are required to follow. The recent decision is the fifth decision in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana, therefore the lower courts will have to follow this decision.
The decision specifically said the right to use marijuana is not absolute and certain substances will be subject to regulation. However, the ruling states that the absolute prohibition of marijuana is not justified or constitutional, a historic decision.
What This Means For Mexico
Now that the Supreme Court has made its decision, it is up to the Mexican lawmakers to legislate its legalization. Fortunately, the odds of this are very likely. The officials of the new President-elect, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, have stated that they will be determined to quickly bring the end of marijuana prohibition as a means to fight poverty and crime.
And fight poverty and crime it most certainly will. Like most of Latin America, crime and poverty rates in Mexico have been an ongoing problem for decades. Political corruption has been a rampant problem, with the added bonus of being a militarized police state thanks to the war on drugs. With the legalization of marijuana, the destructiveness of prohibition can end and the economic benefits of the marijuana industry can begin. Such action wouldn’t bring an immediate fix to Mexico’s instability, but it would be a step in the right direction.
What This Means For America
Mexican marijuana legalization could have a major impact on drug prohibition in the US, especially after Canada’s recent legalization. With its northern and southern neighbors enjoying the benefits of legalized marijuana, America could face increased pressures to do the same.
Legal marijuana has already gained American popularity, with nine states already legalizing it with others close to follow. With Mexico and Canada potentially setting the example, America’s disastrous war on drugs may finally come to end. However, this is only speculation. What Mexico will do with this recent decision remains to be seen.
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