Mexico Decriminalises Recreational Cannabis

Liz Filmer
02 Jul 2021

The Supreme Court of Mexico has decriminalised private, recreational cannabis use, labelling the current prohibition unconstitutional.

In a new ruling, the court's decision, based on an 8-3 majority, means that all adults would be able to register for permits allowing the cultivation and consumption of cannabis in private. The decision came about following the stalling of a legalisation bill that was attempting to pass through congress. The bill was approved by Mexico's house of representatives in March this year but has still not achieved final approval by the Senate. 

The ruling removes any legal obstacles and allows the health ministry to authorise activities that are related to the consumption of recreational cannabis. This was the final step following a drawn-out legal struggle to declare a prohibition on the non-medical or scientific use of cannabis or THC as unconstitutional.

"Today is a historic day for liberties"-  Arturo Zaldivar, Supreme Court President.

Supporters of the legislation are hopeful that it could reduce violence related to the illegal drugs trade in the long term. Something that claims the lives of thousands of Mexicans every year.

However, some groups such as "Mexico United Against Crime" believe that the new ruling would be unlikely to equate to any immediate large scale changes. They claim that the decision fails to address important topics such as the commercialisation of cannabis and activities necessary to allow for consumption, such as transportation and possession. 

The Supreme Court ruling allows permit holders to grow up to 8 plants for personal use and carry up to 28g. Presently the legal limit for possession is five grams.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has said that he will respect the ruling and instruct the government, lawmakers and health regulator Cofepris to comply.

This announcement was not made without some caution, however. Mr Lopez Obrador did refer to the possibility of holding a public referendum or sending a new bill to the Senate, should the new legislation fail to meet high expectations. "If we see that it is not working to address the serious problem of drug addiction, that it's not working to stop violence, then we would act."

This landmark decision brings Mexico a step closer to creating one of the largest legal cannabis markets in the world. Big players in the legal market such as Canada's "Canopy Growth", Colombian "Canadian Khiron Life Sciences", and California based "Medical Marijuana Inc" are just a few companies considering possible opportunities in Mexico.


"Today is a historic day for Liberties"

Arturo Zaldívar, Supreme Court President

Liz Filmer