The Supreme Court in Mexico declared individuals should have the right to grow and distribute cannabis for personal use today. While today’s decision doesn’t technically allow recreational cannabis use yet, it does signify a step in the right direction.
It’s a significant decision in a nation synonymous with drug cartels and drug smuggling to have the Supreme Court vote in such a way. Drug trafficking in Mexico is a business worth more than $50 billion a year and represents over 60 percent of the nation’s economy. In 2008 alone, the DEA seized 660,969.2 kilograms of cannabis within the United States’ borders.
Back in 2009, Mexico allowed the possession of up to 5 grams of cannabis, so it has been somewhat decriminalized, but today’s ruling opens the possibility of fully legal recreational cannabis use and distribution.
The big question that immediately arises is; if recreational cannabis becomes legal, will it have any influence on drug trafficking across the borders? And, does the recent legalization of recreational cannabis in some states reduce the demand for smuggled Mexican cannabis?
The trafficking likely would shift from into the United States, to the other surrounding nations in Latin America as marijuana use in Mexico itself is miniscule. In a 2011 survey conducted about drug use, only 2 percent of Mexicans smoked marijuana in the year prior, less than the 7.5 percent of Americans who admitted to it.
The ruling puts the possibility of legal recreational cannabis in the hands of the justice’s in the court’s criminal chamber. They would have to rule the same way five times, or have eight of the 11 members of the court to rule in favor of it. There is massive resistance, though, from the nation as a whole with legislators, government officials and even the Roman Catholic Church have come out in opposition towards it. Medical cannabis isn’t even legal in Mexico yet.
Still, there is hope for widespread legal recreational cannabis use in Mexico and Armando Santacruz, one of the plaintiffs in the case ruled on today by the Supreme Court, is leading the charge. He reminds people of what even a poorly organized form of regulation could do.
“Bad regulation is better than whatever regulation El Chapo and the narcos can provide,” Santacruz told The New York Times.