Saturday November 17 2018

Posted by Tomas on November 13, 2018
  • Will Mexico become Marijuana friendly?
    Will Mexico become Marijuana friendly?
  • Mexico is well down the road to recreational legalization of Marijuana
    Mexico is well down the road to recreational legalization of Marijuana
  • The plan to legalize marijuana in Baja California Sur has not defined who would provide the product.
    The plan to legalize marijuana in Baja California Sur has not defined who would provide the product.

 

The headlines read the Mexico is moving toward the legalization of marijuana for not only medical use, but for recreational use as well. A milestone(d) in this direction came on October 30, when the Supreme Court of Mexico made a fifth and final ruling on the COFEPRIS (Comisión Federal para la Protección contra Riesgos Sanitarios - Mexico's FDA) restrictions against the personal use of marijuana. But don't fire up just yet - recreation use still has a few hurdles to clear in Mexico.  

This decision was anticipated, as this is the fifth case on which the court has rule consistently in the favor of free usage. As compelled by Supreme Court Communicado 140/2018 COFEPRIS is scheduled to release new legal guidelines for marijuana on Monday, November 5.

On October 31, the First Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation approved two new “amparos” in review, reiterating for the 5th time the unconstitutionality of the absolute prohibition of the recreational use of marijuana, which allows integrating jurisprudence on the topic.

The First Chamber held that the fundamental right to the free development of the personality of persons of legal age must prevail over an absolute prohibition; as long as no third-party interests are affected. An example of true libertarianism.

The integration of jurisprudence from these five cases does not generate a general declaration of unconstitutionality; nevertheless, it establishes a mandatory criterion to be followed by the federal courts regarding the refusal of the requests made by individuals to COFEPRIS for the self-consumption of cannabis. The corresponding legislation to regulate this issue is therefore pending as of today.

The order also indicates that all laws in Mexico are to now follow the guidelines expressed in the ruling. This will prove interesting here in Baja California Sur, where strict laws were state enacted so politicians could appear to be combating the drug war that erupted in 2014-2017. In Baja Sur possession of as little as 3 grams (a joint's worth) can result in jail time.

The political party of President Elect Obrador, the Morena Party, expressed its reserved support for recreational legalization. But there are still a number of political action groups of family interest that will continue to oppose the legalization. The battle isn't quite over yet, but recreational legalization is very near.

To date, COFEPRIS has received more than 600 applications for the permits to "sow, harvest, cultivate and consume Marijuana legally". COFEPRIS will now be required to process those applications. Since the process for a permit is now open to everyone, that number is expected to rise very quickly. Permits pretty much allow it all, but will not open the door to the sale of pot.

The head of the Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risks (Cofepris), Julio Sánchez and Tépoz, said that in Mexico medicines and products with cannabis will be up to five times cheaper than in other parts of the world, which means an advantage of the approved legislation regarding the medicinal use of marijuana. 

On the other hand, on recreational use, during his appearance before the Health Commission of the Senate of the Republic, the commissioner of the Cofepris highlighted before the legislators that so far have five requests of people interested in obtaining a permit for recreational use of Marijuana

He said that, from 2015 to date, the body in charge has issued 351 import permits for personal medical use and, by court order (through appeals before courts), 10 permits for recreational use.  Where it can be smoked is also likely to be part of the rules, as Mexico has even stiffer laws against public cigarette smoking than does the US.

What concerns some is that, although the actions were brought in reference to marijuana, the constitutional ruling will potentially have much wider affects than just pot, but on a whole spectrum of personal adult decisions.

"The fundamental right to the free development of the personality allows the persons of legal age to decide -without any interference- what kind of recreational activities they wish to carry out and protect all the necessary actions to materialize that choice."

The term 'recreational activities' makes legitimate with a broad brush that which consenting adults can do in private.

Mexico has long been ahead of its northern neighbor in guaranteeing these personal rights of consenting adults. Prostitution has never been illegal in Mexico, although it may be limited within city limits. Here in Baja strip clubs get around this by just considering the small fine a cost of doing business. Mexico decriminalized same-sex sexual acts in 1871, although decency laws were sometimes used to prosecute those outside the local morality margins. In June of 2015 the Supreme Court adjusted the legal definition of marriage to include same sex couples. In 2013 Mexico decriminalized the possession of many drugs including marijuana and cocaine. For the last several years Mexico has been eyeing liberalization of some drugs to take the market control of these drugs away from the cartels.

This ruling may open the door to decriminalization or even legalization of not only marijuana and all other drugs from cocaine to oxycontin and other opioid pain killers that were banned entirely in Mexico 7 years ago but decisions of choice far reaching beyond drugs.

Imagine a world where the Constitution protects the right of consenting adults to do as they see fit in the privacy of their own lives. Welcome to Mexico!

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