Legal Pot In Mexico? Four More 'Amparos' Needed To Set Precedent

On Wednesday, Mexico's Supreme Court declared that growing, possessing, and smoking marijuana is legal under the "right to freedom." The declaration was voted in favor of, 4-1, by a five-person panel. The case that Mexico's Supreme Court was ruling on only affects a group of four people who were reportedly seeking to form a cannabis club, reports CTV News.

There are reportedly five similar petitions before the Mexican Supreme Court. So far, the court's ruling does not allow for the commercial production or sale of marijuana. However, if the court makes similar rulings in the five other cases, the rulings could then set a precedent and pave the way for expanded recreational marijuana use in the country.

Did Mexico just make pot legal?
A Mexican marijuana activist. [Image via AFPBB News/YouTube]

"No one has said at all that marijuana is harmless. It is a drug and, as such, it causes damage," said Justice Arturo Zaldivar, according to CTV News. "What is being resolved here is that total prohibition is a disproportionate measure."

"I gave indications to the areas of health and the Legal Department of the [Mexican Government] to explain to the population the scope of the resolution," Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto tweeted.

Zaldivar was reported to state that smoking marijuana in public, much like drinking alcohol in public, would continue to be illegal. Mexican Health Secretary Mercedes Juan made a statement towards the fact that the Mexican government would have to investigate what the limits should be in terms of possession and personal consumption.

Canada, somewhat like Mexico, could see marijuana legalized in the near future. Justin Trudeau was sworn in as prime minister yesterday. Part of his Liberal Party platform was the legalization of marijuana, as reported by the Inquisitr. Trudeau has stated that it may take months or years until the government is able to implement a system of distribution and taxation.

An October poll concluded that 77 percent of Mexican citizens disapprove of the legalization of marijuana, while only 20 percent support the idea. The Los Angeles Times reports that a large proportion of marijuana sold in the United States is grown in Mexico.

Today's ruling, according to the Vallarta Daily, gives the four members of the club the right to grow, harvest, and consume marijuana. The group, which calls themselves Mexican Society of Autoconsumo Responsible Tolerant, believes that the ruling will help take power away from Mexican drug cartels that control the drug trade by hitting "their finances." The group also believes that by putting the power to cultivate pot in the hands of citizens, the amount of power and leverage on the populace cartels can have might be reduced and, hopefully, a reduction in violence will follow.

A Mexican Supreme Court decision may open up the legalization of pot.
A decision by the Mexican Supreme Court may open up the legalization of recreational marijuana use. [Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]

Under Mexican law, the Supreme Court must order four similar "amparos" to establish legal precedent. Wednesday's decision is expected to "spark a wave of applications."

Mexico had already decriminalized the possession of small amounts of some drugs, such as marijuana and cocaine, in 2009. The Mexican Democratic Revolution Party is reported to have lobbied for initiatives to decriminalize cannabis possession and use. Though he appears to be taking yesterday's news in, up until this point, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has been reported to be a staunch opponent of the legalization of marijuana.

"We want to create a situation where people who use marijuana don't have to get it from organized crime," said Lisa Sanchez, a member of the group that won approval from the Mexican Supreme Court and the director of drug policy for the Mexico United Against Crime group, an anti-crime group.

Marijuana is reported to be the most widely consumed illegal substance in Mexico, and 60 percent of the prison population is reportedly incarcerated under laws regulating it.

[Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images]