Mexico’s Supreme Court rules criminalization of marijuana possession for personal use is unconstitutional

The Supreme Court of Mexico ( SCJN ) declared the criminalization and punishment of individuals in possession of marijuana for personal use is unconstitutional. Prior to the ruling, the law indicated any individual in possession of more than 5 grams of marijuana could serve three years in prison. Today’s ruling makes punishment for possession of any amount unconstitutional as long as there is no intent to distribute.

This Wednesday, May 11, the First Chamber of the Court determined the invalidity of Article 478 of the General Health Law ( LGS ), which allowed the possession of fewer than 5 grams for personal consumption, but punishes up to three years in prison if the user exceeded that amount.

The ruling comes from a case filed by a person who was criminally charged for alleged intent to distribute marijuana, under the charge of simple possession of marijuana; however, he appealed in which he claimed there was no intent to sell and the marijuana he possessed was for personal use.

It should be remembered that decriminalization is not legalization. It is the legislative power that has to generate the legal scaffolding that provides sustenance to the Mexican State so that marijuana consumers can consume marijuana freely, but the discussion is suspended in the Senate of the Republic and will be until the next congressional session in which the future of cannabis in Mexico is scheduled to be defined. It is reported that the only thing that has stalled the legalization of marijuana in Mexico is the legal age of consent with some support in the Senate for 18 years of age, while others push for 21 years old or 25 years old.

Currently, marijuana use in Mexico is in legal limbo with the Supreme Court ruling that prohibition is unconstitutional, but the Senate has failed to change laws and create regulations for recreational use, leaving marijuana illegal in Mexico.

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