marijuana Legalization coming?

Pot gets green light from Supreme Court

Ruling applies only to the four appellants, but opens door to legalization

A landmark Supreme Court ruling contradicting Mexican law opens the door to the legalization of marijuana.


By four votes to one, the court’s first chamber approved the cultivation, processing and possession of cannabis for personal use. However, the ruling will only apply to four activists – Josefina Ricaño Vàndala, Armando Santacruz González, José Pablo Girault and Juan Francisco Torres Landa Ruffo – who challenged the law by applying to set up a marijuana club in 2013 for recreational, non-commercial use.

They will now be able to proceed with their plans – knowing full well that in doing so they have successfully used the legal system to undermine the law against cannabis use.

However, the government stressed that the court ruling does not mean that anyone else is now free to cultivate cannabis for personal consumption and that the General Health Law outlawing marijuana still applies to others.

“The ruling will only apply to the persons it protects – the resolution of the first chamber does not legalize the supply or sale [of cannabis],” said Humberto Castellejos, legal counsel in the office of the president. “Growing it with any other objective, even for recreation, is a crime according to the law.”

Nevertheless, campaigners for legalization including the four activists who challenged the law, are optimistic that the ruling will pave the way for an eventual dismantling of Mexico’s strict marijuana laws.

“This is a tremendously powerful decision that could open the way for real change,” said Santacruz Gonzàlez. “We’ve made history. It’s the first hole in the dike.”


The ruling is the first of its kind and establishes a precedent for similar cases in future. Four more like it would establish jurisprudence and require the federal government to change Mexico’s cannabis laws.

Another legalization campaigner, Hector Aguilar Camín, also welcomed the ruling. “This is a watershed decision; we have to start separating the substance from the hell produced by its persecution,” he said in reference to Mexico’s drug wars, which have killed thousands of people.

“Our objective was always to change drug policy in this country, which is one of the main motors for the violence, corruption and the violation of human rights in Mexico,” said Santacruz Gonzàlez.

Mexican law permits possession of up to five grams of cannabis, but activists say this is a halfway measure as few users buy such small amounts.

Despite the media coverage the case has garnered, and the estimated US $1.5 billion a year marijuana generates for the criminal cartels that produce and traffic it, cannabis use in Mexico is believed to be low – about 2% of the population according to one estimate in 2011.

Moreover, a recent poll put the number of Mexicans in favor of legalizing it at just one in five, as opposed to 77% who opposed such a measure.

Supreme Court Judge Arturo Zaldivar, who proposed the ruling, based his argument on the human right to “personal development” and recreation that did not harm others. However, Zaldivar’s 88-page report did not make any reference to cannabis seeds, an omission cited by the one judge who opposed the ruling, Jorge Mario Pardo Rebolledo.

“How does one guarantee the right to exercise consumer rights. Where are they going to get the seeds from?” he asked, suggesting that the four activists would still be breaking the law by seeking to acquire cannabis seeds to facilitate personal cultivation.

Source: Milenio (sp), El Universal (sp)

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  • Legalizing all drugs for adults, here and in the U.S., is the only way the narco violence will end. There is no difference between this Prohibition and the Prohibition of booze in the 1920s. When the Prohibition of booze ended, so did the era of violence in those times. Direct connection.

    • Güerito

      Some comments I made a couple months ago, when Glen Olives wrote an editorial here supporting legalization:


      While I generally support legalization, I question whether legalization would lead to less violence in Mexico, at least in the short-term.

      What are all those narcos going to do if their income stream from illegal drugs is eliminated? We don’t have to speculate, really, since Los Zetas provide us with something like a test case. They’re usually thought of as the most violent, ruthless cartel out there.

      Los Zetas show that as revenues from drug trafficking go down for a cartel, the cartel moves into other, more violent, criminal activity. Into crimes that affect the general Mexican population more, like kidnapping, extortion, human trafficking, murder for hire and plain ole robbery.

      Los Zetas were pioneers in all of this, including pipeline thefts, because they didn’t have the big S. American cocaine connections the other cartels did. Now, their crappy weed is losing out to higher quality US grown marijuana and increasing legalization in the US.

      The Caballeros Templarios in Michoacán (2008-2014) are another good example. They never really had more than their meth labs in the mountains, so they, like Los Zetas, engaged all sorts of horrific attacks on the civilian population.

      The cartels that stick to the more lucrative illegal drug trafficking engage in less violence, especially on the civilian population not involved in drug activities. The Sinaloa cartel, with big coke connections in S. America is a good example.

      So, maybe violence in Mexico will go down after legalization, but it might take a generation or more. Before then, I would predict a spike in violence in Mexico following legalization.

      Glen responded:

      It’s a problem, and a complicated one at that. Bootleggers in the Prohibition era mostly moved into legal, controlled, and regulated alcohol sales. One might expect currently illegal narco traffickers to do the same. A spike in violence after legalization? You may indeed be right about that. I just don’t see remaining on the same course as a very good option. Thank you for the thoughtful comment.


      Most bootleggers made their own booze, so the analogy would be the Mexicans picking the poppies or overseeing the marijuana fields. I don’t doubt that they would be used in the future if full legalization arrived.

      But what about the narcos with all those weapons? I don’t think a multinational involved in selling newly legalized drugs would have much use for them.

      Look at the US Mafia. Everyone talks about how Prohibition created the US Mafia. But did the Mafia disappear when Prohibition was lifted?

      No, they moved into other criminal enterprises, such as gambling, prostitution, loan sharking, and union racketeering. Eventually, by the 70’s and 80’s, the Mafia was reduced to hijacking cargo trucks, securities fraud and whatever else they could think of.

      If following Prohibition the US Mafia moved so easily into these other areas, why wouldn’t Mexican narcos do the same? Especially when you consider Mexico’s weak criminal justice system. For example, the Mafia didn’t move into kidnapping because with the FBI involved, kidnapping had a very high conviction rate.

      The Mexican criminal justice system has yet to make any type of criminal activity less attractive through high conviction rates. With so much impunity, there’s nothing stopping out-of-work narcos from moving into those violent crimes, affecting the civilian population, I mentioned above.

      • Art Sanchez

        Whatever the above views from above comments – Mexico will keep rolling this ussue, like the US, because cash is made by many in doing so. Why make a decsion when you can keep kicking the ball around? Money to be made in stalling the issues.

  • Bolander

    Felipe Zapata is absolutely correct. Narco violence would not exist without the insatiable demand for mind altering substances. Cultural Anthropology explains that since the dawn of time humans have experimented with and processed all sorts of mind altering plants to be used for spiritual, medicinal and recreational purposes. It is in our human nature. The way to end Narcos, is to legalize all drugs, then regulate, tax and provide substance rehabilitation to those who need it.

  • Henry Wilson

    Mexican government attitude on social and moral issues: “Hey! We can’t let those damned Gringos get ahead of us on these issues, now can we?”

    • PintorEnMexico

      I think the more likely attitude, Hank, is “Why should so many Mexicans die trying to either traffic or interdict the traffic of drugs to the US who strong-armed the Mexican government into supporting the so called war on drugs, when the Americans themselves are thinking and voting their way out of this stupid prohibition?”

      • Henry Wilson

        LOL! wow….dude….at least wait until its all legal before snorting and injectingyour way into your own pers0nal heaven!

        • PintorEnMexico

          Did you read the article about Portugal’s ending prohibition? I’m guessing not, because your reply is not the least bit responsive to any of the points I raised. If you thought a little before banging on your keyboard, what might your reply have been?

          • Henry Wilson

            If I thought about my reply in any more detail prior to posting it would have been deleted by the moderators.

          • PintorEnMexico

            That’s ok. I usually make it a point not to engage in a battle of wits with an unarmed man. And boy, you got nothing!

          • Henry Wilson

            Uh oh…hide the children..another tough guy Internet Warrior makes his appearance. Now if only his fists were one half the size of his mouth maybe the rest of us would be concerned. LOL!

          • PintorEnMexico

            Still no answer to the original point. Small mind. Oh, and hide the
            children, another pedophile in Merida is swinging his little….fist.

  • PintorEnMexico

    I think all drugs should be decriminalized. Prohibitionists like to point to studies of rats in which they were given pure water and water laced with cocaine. True, the rats preferred the coke to the point of death. But then researchers began to look at the cages the rats were in. In an austere cage, sure, the rats killed themselves. Who wouldn’t? It was like living in a Detroit. But then they made cages like little rat Disneylands. Full of food, toys, sexual partners, and other rat shit. The rats preferred pure water, but did “recreationaly” hit the coke water for fun, but not addictively. The conclusion being that a crappy environment gives rise to addiction to escape the drudge. CHECK OUT PORTUGAL’S 14-YEAR EXPERIMENT WITH ENDING PROHIBITION: