Mexico has taken another step closer to cannabis reform after the election of a new pro-legalization president. According to a report from Cannabis Wire, a team of lawyers is trying to facilitate the legalization process by bringing a series of lawsuits before the Supreme Court and they’re winning.
The Supreme Court of Justice of Mexico has complicated regulations which state the court has to conduct five similar rulings on a given problem before the law can change. Currently, the court, which is separated into four different chambers based on different fields of the law, has attended to various cases linked to the country’s prohibition of marijuana in several chambers. Before the ban can be rescheduled, all five conclusions must be reached by the same chamber and presently, at least three court conclusions have met that standard.
Those conclusions resulted from a team of lawyers who believe that they can use the courts to help legalize cannabis across the nation. Attorneys Andrés Aguinaco Gómez, Paula Méndez and Moy Schwartzman have associated with nonprofit Mexico United Against Crime, which focuses on cases which deal with the victims of organized crime.
The lawyers carried the case against the ban on marijuana and fought an inherent stigma in Mexico against cannabis consumers. Since the Mexican economy is still suffering the effects of the war on drugs, cannabis has been constantly linked with organized crime. A report from Puentes, states that the team of Gómez needed to carefully select their cases to make sure that their arguments are centered on constitutional rights at the core of the judges and also the public.
Due to this technique, the lawyers have been successful in at least two of their cases and they have succeeded in convincing the Supreme Court that cannabis prohibition is a violation of citizens’ rights.
Based on a 2015 case, the group represented four people who argued that their constitutional rights had been infringed by cannabis prohibition. They claimed that cannabis prohibition violated their right to the “free development of personality,” which means, under Mexican law, their rights to become free individuals.
However, a lower court rejected the case, but their claim was powerful enough to grant them an appeal from the Supreme Court judges. Currently, these four citizens are amongst the four-five Mexicans who can legally smoke marijuana.
The fifth citizen is Graciela “Grace” Elizalde Benavides, an eight-year-old girl who uses cannabis as a treatment to her epilepsy something which was seen by the court as a necessity, and this made her become the only Mexican citizen permitted to import cannabis as medicine.
In July 2018, Andrés Manuel López Obrador [AMLO] became president of Mexico and promised broad-based reforms, which were mostly based on corruption and the war on drugs. His objective the legalize marijuana will be an important aspect of Gómez’ Supreme Court strategy since his legal team will need to be assisted by lawmakers to make the dream come true.
However, according to the Mexican law, a Supreme Court decision does not instantly change the law; it only affects the manner in which the courts enforce it. Thus, Mexicans could still be convicted for the possession of cannabis, but would not be trailed immediately.