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Mexico Supreme Court takes step toward recreational pot use

Published:Friday | November 6, 2015 | 11:00 AM
A supporter of marijuana legalization smokes outside the Supreme Court in Mexico City. Mexico's court ruled that growing, possessing and smoking marijuana for recreation are legal under a person's right to personal freedoms.

MEXICO CITY (AP):

Mexico's Supreme Court has ruled that growing, possessing and smoking marijuana for recreation is legal under the right to freedom.

The measure was approved on Wednesday in a 4-1 vote on the five-justice panel, backing the argument that smoking marijuana is covered under the right of "free development of personality".

At this point, the ruling covers only the plaintiffs in a single case, a group of four people wanting to form a pot club.

The ruling did not approve the sale or commercial production of marijuana nor does it imply a general legalisation. But if the court rules the same way on five similar petitions, it would then establish the precedent to change the law and allow general recreational use.

A similar process led to the court's recent ruling that Mexican laws prohibiting same-sex marriage are unconstitutional.

"No one has said at all that marijuana is harmless. It is a drug and, as such, it causes damage," said Justice Arturo Zaldivar, who wrote the majority opinion. "What is being resolved here is that total prohibition is a disproportionate measure."

At the same time, the ruling will help legalisation measures being written in Congress, said Moy Schwartzman, one of the lawyers for the plaintiffs.