Mexico's supreme court today ruled that some parts of the country's health law are not valid, and that growing, possessing, or using marijuana for recreational purposes is perfectly legal under existing Mexican law.
The ruling covers plaintiffs in a specific case, but this really is huge. Anti-prohibition activists are celebrating the decision as part of the path toward full legalization of pot. If Mexico legalizes it, it will be a big damn deal: the country has been devastated by fallout from the totally insane and unsustainable War on Drugs.
The first bench of Mexico's supreme court granted an injunction that allows 4 members of the Mexican Society for Responsible and Tolerant Self-Consumption ("SMART') to grow, transport and smoke pot.
Here is the part I find most intriguing. The court found in a 4 to 1 ruling that marijuana prohibition violates the "right to the free development of personality," and this is why banning pot is unconstitutional.
From the New York Times' coverage, by Elizabeth Malkin:
The decision reflects a changing dynamic in Mexico, where for decades the American-backed war on drugs has produced much upheaval but few lasting victories. Today, the flow of drugs to the United States continues, along with the political corruption it fuels in Mexico. The country, dispirited by the ceaseless fight with traffickers, remains engulfed in violence.
"It's the drama behind all of our efforts," said Juan Francisco Torres Landa, a corporate lawyer who was one of the plaintiffs in the Supreme Court case.
The marijuana case has ignited a debate about the effectiveness of imprisoning drug users, in a country with some of the most conservative drug laws in Latin America. But across the region, a growing number of voices are questioning Washington's strategy in the drug war. With little to show for tough-on-crime policies, the balance appears to be slowly shifting toward other approaches.
We can only hope that the United States catches up with Mexico soon.