By Roland Sebestyén
The Mexican Supreme Court has decided to decriminalise the recreational use of cannabis after declaring current prohibition laws unconstitutional.
According to the BBC, the court ruled in an 8-3 decision that adults would be able to apply for permits to cultivate and use their own cannabis in the future. However, smoking in public and in front of children will remain illegal.
Supreme Court president Arturo Zaldivar said: “Today is a historic day for liberties.”
However, there are those that are not completely satisfied with the extent of the decision. The México Unido Contra la Delincuencia NGO claimed that “the decision does not decriminalise the activities necessary to carry out consumption.”
Zara Snapp, the co-founder of Instituto RIA, a think tank, said: “This is a step forward for the rights of cannabis users. But there’s still work to be done in congress to be able to regulate the market in a socially just way.”
Advocates for cannabis reforms in Mexico claim that the decriminalisation of cannabis would help to create more jobs and support the economy in the future.
Many – including the country’s President Lopez Obrador – believe that decriminalising cannabis and other drugs would help to challenge illegal drug cartels.
With the prospect of decriminalisation, and potential legalisation, of cannabis in Mexico, many experts believe that there also could be significant implications for surrounding countries.
Others, however, are sceptical. Some welcome the decision but say that the Supreme Court ruling will only benefit the government that doesn’t really want to take on drug cartels in Mexico.
Raul Bejarano, a graduate student studying cannabis regulation, said: “This is probably what the present government was looking for.
“It exempts them from their responsibility of creating a regulated market.”