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Marijuana legalization? Cutting through the weeds.

4 November 2018

Reed Brundage translated for Mexico Voices an excellent explication (by Jorge Javier Romero Vadillo for SinEmbargo) of last Friday’s court Supreme Court ruling on marijuana does and doesn’t mean.

It does not mean, as widely reported in some US publications, that marijuana use is now legal, but rather that prohibiting people from using marijuana is not constitutionally acceptable. It’s a distinction WITH a difference.

Brundage’s translation (although a typo has the court decision coming down 1 October and not 1 November) expands on the original, including clear and concise explications of the complex Supreme Court procedure that led to the decision… which doesn’t mean anyone can toke up, only that one can apply for a court injunction if they are not granted the very rare permissions from COPRAPRIS (Mexico’s equivalent to the Food and Drug Administration in the United States) to possess marijuana for personal use. In other words, you still have to go to the expense and trouble of hiring a lawyer, getting a case on a federal docket, going to court, and then… probably, maybe… getting the judge to issue an amparo (inunction) against COPRAPRIS, who would then let you file your application, and when they get around to issuing it…

Olga Sanchéz Cordera, the former Supreme Court Justice, now Senator for Morena and incoming Home Secretary (Secretaria de Gobernacion) has said she and her staff are working on legislation to simplify the process, but don’t expect to toke up any time soon.

The best those of you looking for legal week can hope for is a situation like that we have with same-sex marriage. In theory, it is perfectly legal here in Mexico. However, not all state laws have changed to reflect what has been established as a constitutional right, and that obtaining a marriage license for a same-sex couple is still a cumbersome legal journey in several states. The difference being that marijuana use is regulated by the federal government, whereas marriage laws are a state matter.

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