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marijuana OK for medical use.

Court upholds Mexico City’s position on medical marijuana

Federal Attorney General had challenged city's constitution regarding medical use of pot, death with dignity

The Supreme Court has endorsed the right of Mexico City residents to use marijuana for medicinal purposes as established by the city’s constitution.

Eight of 11 judges ruled yesterday that the Constitutional Assembly of Mexico City, a body formed to create a new constitution for the capital, had not encroached on federal jurisdiction by including an article enshrining the right to use medicinal marijuana.

The ruling came in response to a challenge filed by the federal Attorney General’s office (PGR), which argued that the Mexico City government doesn’t have the power to regulate the drug.

However, the text of the constitution states that the right to use marijuana for medicinal purposes must be exercised in accordance with the General Health Law, meaning that it does not seek to legislate independently or override any federal laws, the court determined.

President Enrique Peña Nieto signed a decree in June 2017 that legalized medical marijuana, while the Mexico City constitution went into effect in September 2016.

The Supreme Court also endorsed a range of other articles in the city’s constitution against which challenges had been filed, including the right to die with dignity, the right of access to water, the right to sexuality, the right for the local government to enter into agreements with international entities and the right for migrants not to be criminalized while in the capital regardless of their legal status.

With regard to the dignified death provision, the PGR argued that it effectively allowed for euthanasia and assisted suicide, which are prohibited under federal law and whose regulation is the exclusive domain of the federal government.

However, the Supreme Court took a different view.

“The challenged norm does not regulate a specific institution, rule, principle or policy but rather recognizes the right to a dignified death as part of the right to live with dignity . . .” said Judge Javier Laynez Potisek.

“It doesn’t necessarily involve a quick, accelerated or anticipated death but one with the use of all means available in order to preserve the dignity of the [dying] person, respecting individual values and avoiding excesses that produce harm and pain,” he added.

The court did not reach conclusions on three other constitutional provisions, which are also facing challenges and relate to science and technology, labor rights and criminal proceedings.

The Mexico City constitution was created in the wake of a 2016 political reform that converted the capital into a federal entity akin to a state.

Source: El Financiero (sp), El Universal (sp), El Economista (sp)

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