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Mexico Supreme Court takes step toward recreational pot use

Published:Thursday | November 5, 2015 | 10:36 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'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.