Mexico’s Supreme Court handed down a ruling on Wednesday that could eventually change the way the country manages its laws against cannabis.
In a vote of 4-to-1, the country’s highest court said that it is an infringement of basic human rights to prohibit the use the cannabis plant. Unfortunately, the verdict does not give way to automatic legalization throughout the country, but it does provide a significant argument for lawmakers when introducing legislation in the future aimed at widespread reform.
The ruling on this issue comes after four plaintiffs filed a lawsuit in 2013 arguing that it was unlawful for them to be prohibited from the possession, use and cultivation of the cannabis plant. A case was made, which suggested that imposing laws that hinder “the right to the free development of one’s personality” goes against the grain of the Mexican constitution. The entire argument, which endured a rigorous appeals process before landing in the Supreme Court this year, was based on the simple notion that Mexico was wrong to ban anyone from growing and smoking weed as long as those actions did not bring harm to others. The Supreme Court agreed.
“As a country, we are taking a first step, a step that recognizes this important human right, which is dignity and liberty,” Fabian Aguinaco, a lawyer for the defendants, told Time. “This is like when you make a hole in a well. All the water pours out. But we need to construct public policies to regulate [drug use] and also satisfy people’s liberty.”
Unfortunately, only the four people who won this case now have the freedom to cultivate and smoke cannabis in Mexico without fear of legal repercussion. For the rest of the nation, pot prohibition remains alive and well. However, had this ruling taken place in the United States, marijuana would have been legalized across the entire nation in the same way we watched gay marriage become legal over the summer. But in the case of Mexico’s Supreme Court, at least four other rulings on the same issue would have to be handed down before it could become the law of the land.
It is highly probable that the recent legalization efforts in the United States and Uruguay, not to mention newly-elected prime minister Justin Trudeau’s plan to end prohibition in Canada, as well as the latest verdict in Mexico, will all play a part in the discussion when the United Nations meets next year to begin revamping the scope of international drug policy.
There is speculation that the latest ruling could lead to Mexican officials taking a serious approach to changing the laws against marijuana in the coming year. At this point, there are too many variables at play to make an accurate prediction for 2016, but there is enough to wager that major changes are coming.
Do you agree? Should smoking cannabis be your right as long as you are not harming others? Let us know in the comments.