Justice

Mexico Just Made a Bold Move on Marijuana

The Mexican Supreme Court made a bold move on marijuana Wednesday, challenging the country's strict drug laws and opening the doors to legalization. The court's criminal chamber ruled that individuals should have the right to grow and distribute cannabis for personal use, the New York Times reported.

RELATED: The Surprising Effect Legalized Marijuana Is Having On Ruthless Mexican Drug Cartels

While the ruling does not effectively abolish the illegal status in Mexico, legalization advocates say that it paves the path for "a wave of legal actions that could ultimately rewrite" the country's drug laws, which are among the most conservative of Latin American countries.

Mexico marijuana

The ruling comes in response to mounting frustrations over the apparent failure of the war on drugs. Violent crime and corruption has become endemic to Mexico, with powerful drug cartels buying influence over politicians and law enforcement. The cartels' drug trafficking efforts have also posed problems in the U.S., where support for marijuana legalization is at a record high.

"Still, few think that legalizing marijuana will significantly reduce drug violence or weaken the gangs," the New York Times reported. "Although the rising production of higher-quality marijuana in the United States reduces demand for Mexican imports, experts say that Mexican gangs continue to account for an important percentage of the American supply."

mexico drug war

RELATED: These 17 States Could Have Legalized Marijuana After Next Year

The Supreme Court did not focus on the effect that legalization could have on drug cartels. Rather, it weighed the costs of criminalizing marijuana for individual users, many of whom have faced extortion and incarceration for non-violent drug offenses such as possession of small amounts of marijuana. That said, public opinion for legalization is not currently favorable in Mexico.

The country's lawmakers, public health officials, and Catholic leaders have openly opposed legalization, but Armando Santacruz, a plaintiff in the Supreme Court case, is confident this will change. "Bad regulation is better than whatever regulation El Chapo and the narcos can provide," Santacruz said.

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Posted by ATTN: on Thursday, October 15, 2015