Mexico Supreme Court Says Legal Weed a Civil Right

Puerta Suprema Corte

Photo by Nigromante via Wikimedia Commons Images: Front door of the Mexico Supreme Court, en Espanol: Puerta Suprema Corte.
Mexico-Despite the Mexican president, Enrique Peña Nieto saying legalization is not foreseeable or agreeable, the Mexican Supreme court has made a ruling that suggests otherwise for the future of the smokable and edible plant. Four people in the entire country of 122 million (as of 2013 figures) are now allowed to grow, possess and smoke herb all day long. That is because those four people, who belong to an advocacy group for legalization, argued their case to the high court on civil rights alone. They argued that smoking pot only harms the user, and just as the government in Mexico can't punish citizens for eating harmful foods ('eating a bunch of tacos,' as one man put it), they cannot punish them for consuming or growing marijuana either. In Mexico, the court must make the same ruling in four separate cases for the law to apply federally. There are likely other political caveats to the issue as well.

Reformists say this ruling is huge, particularly for Latin America. Other major countries in the region including Brazil, Colombia and others. The citation of "freedom to develop personality" was cited under the Mexican constitution in the plaintiff's case to the court. It started with a petition from a group called SMART, which the Atlantic covered in November this year. The group's full name in English is Mexican Society for Responsible and Tolerant Consumption, en Espanol: Sociedad Mexicana de Autoconsumo Responsable y Tolerante. The group, as the report suggested, tried a different argument other than the typical reformist agenda of outcrying senseless incarceration for petty crimes and a heavy toll on society from the black market trade and Cartel business model. Arguing that the government is prohibiting citizens' rights to choose what personal behaviors to engage in, whether unhealthy or not, is preventing their right to freely develop a unique and free personality, they won agreement from the highest court in Mexico.

At least one of the plaintiffs admitted to not personally smoking the organic drug or any derivatives and doesn't plan to start anytime soon. CNN reported that the decision was voted 4-1 in the Mexican court. osefina Ricaño, Armando Santacruz, José Pablo Girault and Juan Francisco Torres Landa Ruffo are the plaintiffs that won the case and are allowed to smoke pot now, though it seems more a symbolic victory at this point. It is also part of a trend and a path that the entire Y axis of the Americas and some parts of Europe are moving toward. The United States is moving in a state-by-state pattern with some states adopting it recreationally and others for medical use only. The Associated Press reported earlier this year that people in Minnesota, who has one of the strictest medical cannabis laws in country, started buying pot on the street again due to such high prices and restrictions in that state for the legal stuff. Debate continues to brew and it continues to move in the direction of decriminalization. Canada may become the next country to pass full legalization if a presidential candidate gets their way.

The United Nations has similar language of "freedom of personality" cited in the case and other cases in different countries have cited the clause in parts of their case, but no case has been ruled like this one with the clause at the center. Not all countries have adopted provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in its full form from the United Nations. The United States is one of those countries that does not have the provisions from the U.N.'s declaration.