Mexican Ruling Paves Way For Marijuana Legalization

Jonah Bennett

The Mexican Supreme Court ruled Wednesday four individuals have a right to produce and consume marijuana for personal and recreational use, paving the way for marijuana legalization.

The 4-1 ruling keeps existing drug laws intact, but lays the groundwork for a host of legal challenges that could result in marijuana legalization, reported The New York Times.

“This is a tremendously powerful decision that could open the way for real change,” one of the four activists, Armando Santa Cruz, said according to Vice News. “We’ve made history. It’s a hole in the dike but it’s the first hole in the dike.”

For now, the shift applies only to those four individuals. While they still can’t sell the drug, those four now have a right to grow, possess and smoke marijuana recreationally.

Mexican authorities are widely opposed to legalization, as is the Catholic Church. Mexicans as a whole are also opposed to marijuana, and the country does not have a provision for medical marijuana.

A poll conducted by Parametria in October found that just 20 percent agreed with legalization for recreational use. A total of 77 percent definitely opposed marijuana legalization.

Marijuana remains a major export industry to the United States. But Mexican cartels are finding it increasingly difficult to compete with marijuana grown in America, because the drug is now legal in four states and in the District of Columbia. (RELATED: Legal US Weed Is Killing Drug Cartels)

Still, Mexican cartels remain strong, and Mexican marijuana makes up a large share of the U.S. marijuana market. Experts seem convinced that criminal infrastructure will exist regardless of whether the drug becomes legal in Mexico. Cartels will simply switch to other operations if marijuana is legal, they reason.

“It’s clearly a significant part of the business,” senior RAND Corporation economist Peter Reuter told The New York Times. “It’s enough to fight about.”

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