Mexico Supreme Court Opens Door to Legal Marijuana

In an 88 page opinion based on principles of human rights, Justice Arturo Zaldívara of the Mexican Supreme Court has paved the way for legal marijuana in Mexico.

The vote by the court’s criminal chamber declared that individuals should have the right to grow and distribute marijuana for their personal use. While the ruling does not strike down current drug laws, it lays the groundwork for a wave of legal actions that could ultimately rewrite them, proponents of legalization say.

Justice Zaldívar writes: "...[T]he state recognizes an individual’s autonomy to engage in recreational activities that do not harm others.


The Mexican population is generally not in favor of legalization. But check out these divergent opinions:

Carlos Canchola, 87, a retiree, rejoiced when he learned of the ruling. “This is great news,” he said. “People like me will be able to acquire it for rheumatism.”


Adalí Cadena Rosas, 20, a pharmacy worker in Mexico City, bemoaned the decision on Wednesday. “I mean, we already have so many drug addicts,” she said. “This is only going to make things worse.”

And from one of the four plaintiffs in the case:

“We are killing ourselves to stop the production of something that is heading to the U.S., where it’s legal,” said Armando Santacruz.

Legalization in Colorado and other states has resulted in the Mexican cartels moving to other drugs. without the profit margin, it's just not worth it. The Times curiously quotes a 2010 survey, stating:

As it stands, marijuana accounts for more than a fifth of revenues generated by cartels, around $1.5 billion a year, according to a 2010 report by the RAND Corporation.

That is a meaningless statistic as it was before legalization. The Times should have pointed out that Mexican production of marijuana has fallen sharply while its production of heroin (from poppies), meth and designer drugs has dramatically increased the past few years.

From the Washington Post:

Made-in-the-USA marijuana is quickly displacing the cheap, seedy, hard-packed version harvested by the bushel in Mexico’s Sierra Madre mountains. That has prompted Mexican drug farmers to plant more opium poppies, and the sticky brown and black “tar” heroin they produce is channeled by traffickers into the U.S. communities hit hardest by prescription painkiller abuse, off­ering addicts a $10 alternative to $80-a-pill oxycodone.

“Legalization of marijuana for recreational use has given U.S. consumers access to high-quality marijuana, with genetically improved strains, grown in greenhouses,” said Raul Benitez-Manaut, a drug-war expert at Mexico’s National Autonomous University. “That’s why the Mexican cartels are switching to heroin and meth.”

Time Magazine (no link due to auto-playing video):

U.S. Border Patrol has been seizing steadily smaller quantities of the drug, from 2.5 million pounds in 2011 to 1.9 million pounds in 2014. Mexico’s army has noted an even steeper decline, confiscating 664 tons of cannabis in 2014, a drop of 32% compared to year before.

Bloomberg has more.

Prohibition doesn't work. Legalization and a re-direction of financial resources from enforcing criminal drug laws to battling entrenched corruption in Mexico and Latin and South American governments, their law enforcement and their military would stand a far greater chance of reducing the impact of the cartels.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Us this an English acronym (none / 0) (#1)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Nov 05, 2015 at 07:08:39 AM EST

    four activists from a cannabis club called the Mexican Society for Responsible and Tolerant Personal Use, or SMART. But it sets a powerful precedent that could shake up drug laws in Mexico and across the region.

    I hope it spreads north.   My rheumatism is not getting any better either.

    It's Already Legal, Somewhat, Since 2009... (none / 0) (#2)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Nov 05, 2015 at 09:04:57 AM EST
    ...for personal use, here is what you can hold in Mexico w/o breaking the law:
    The maximum amount of marijuana for "personal use" under the new law is 5 grams-the equivalent of about four joints. The limit is a half gram for cocaine, the equivalent of about 4 "lines." For other drugs, the limits are 50 milligrams of heroin, 40 milligrams for methamphetamine and 0.015 milligrams for LSD.


    Yes, heroin and LSD are legal in Mexico in small quantities.  While technically they decriminalized use by allowing small amounts, which is good, but it doesn't help junkies and dealers who generally have more than a couple highs on their person.

    Interestingly enough:

    Anyone caught with drug amounts under the new personal-use limit will be encouraged to seek treatment, and for those caught a third time treatment is mandatory.

    I am trying to figure that out, it's not illegal, but you can get caught and they are tracking it.  I wonder if they seize them as well.

    If Mexico legalizes it, it will most certainly change the dynamics and the percentage, but it would probably be classified as an agriculture export.  Seems far-fetched, but so was the idea of a state legalizing it in the US and now there are 3, I think.

    Orale El Juez...Orale! (none / 0) (#3)
    by kdog on Thu Nov 05, 2015 at 09:15:05 AM EST
    "The state recognizes an individual's autonomy to engage in recreational activities that do not harm others."

    Still boggles my mind that this fundamental truth is still up for debate in any country that considers itself a "free" one.  The commonest of common sense.

    Can confirm the Washington Post excerpt...Mexican brick weed has gone the way of the phone booth and the VCR...I can't even remember the last time I've seen any, and would have no clue where it could even be gotten.  20 years ago it was a staple, now it's a ghost.  Imagine that...what the DEA tried to eradicate from the US market for over 30 years to no avail has been eradicated by the fine marijuana growers of the United States of America in a few short years.

    We're a DIY Nation (none / 0) (#4)
    by Mr Natural on Thu Nov 05, 2015 at 10:55:55 AM EST
    Hydro stores are as ubiquitous as Home Depot...

    And they say... (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by kdog on Thu Nov 05, 2015 at 11:09:06 AM EST
    we don't make anything in America anymore.

    Move over Holland, there's a new sheriff in town.  USA! USA! USA!

    We'll be really cooking when we start producing more hash.


    Psssssssssst... (none / 0) (#10)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Thu Nov 05, 2015 at 01:00:25 PM EST
    we already are - and in many different forms.  Stuff I got, just a pinhead's worth will do you.

    Wonder why... (none / 0) (#11)
    by kdog on Thu Nov 05, 2015 at 01:40:45 PM EST
    it's not trickling east yet...maybe too much of a niche market?  Are the kids not hip to it?  Or am I just outta the loop?

    I mean we've got the green up the wazoo, the wax and the vapor and the edibles abound too...papa wants some consistent hash!


    Maybe in NYC... (none / 0) (#6)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Nov 05, 2015 at 11:57:36 AM EST
    ...but you can get a QP of brick for $50 all day long in Houston, but it certainly has taken a back seat.  But more to the point, in high school I used to pay $35 for a quarter, that was ~1988.

    In 17 years the cost of brick has gone down ~90%, not too many products that make that claim.


    Fifty Bucks a QPer? (none / 0) (#7)
    by kdog on Thu Nov 05, 2015 at 12:06:58 PM EST
    Talk about a going out of business sale.

    Same Price... (none / 0) (#9)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Nov 05, 2015 at 12:29:47 PM EST
    ...for about a decade, really once hydro went main stream.  I used to get it because I don't smoke, but always like having it around for others.

    Now I keep a couple pens around from Colorado.  Hassle free and people seem to really get a kick out of an e-cig with THC.


    weed and flatscreens (none / 0) (#8)
    by Mr Natural on Thu Nov 05, 2015 at 12:21:24 PM EST
    that's it.

    Can you spot the stupidity in this? (none / 0) (#12)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Thu Nov 05, 2015 at 02:56:20 PM EST
    No Different Than Weed... (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Nov 06, 2015 at 11:18:11 AM EST
    ...and moisture/potency or cocaine that has been cut, you do the time for the weight regardless of purity.

    Dumb, but the same as every other drug law, based on weight of what you are holding, not the weight of the actual illegal substance.  Many years of additional jail time has been served for cutting agents, like baby laxatives.

    There are some really potent edibles going around Houston, they are gummie and the size of a silver dollars.

    The are calling them Bill Cosbys, because they will render you defenseless.  


    I don't know... (none / 0) (#13)
    by kdog on Thu Nov 05, 2015 at 06:13:17 PM EST
    Do blotter paper and sugar cubes weigh the same?

    Stupid is as stupid does.