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Mexico top court decriminalizes recreational use of cannabis

The landmark ruling came after the country's Congress failed to enact legislation that would allow recreational marijuana use by April 30 -- the deadline set by the Supreme Court. 

Mexico top court decriminalizes recreational use of cannabis-VPN
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Mexico, First Published Jun 29, 2021, 1:26 PM IST
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The Supreme Court in Mexico, in a landmark judgment, has decriminalised recreational marijuana use for adults after activists said users face a 'legal vacuum' until lawmakers pass a staled legislation bill. 

Eight of the eleven judges backed the decision to decriminalise the drug. 

The landmark ruling came after the country's Congress failed to enact legislation that would allow recreational marijuana use by April 30 -- the deadline set by the Supreme Court.

The bill needs approval by the upper house, the Senate. In April, the ruling majority in the Senate said it was considering postponing the final discussion on the bill till September. However, the Supreme Court urged Congress to sue the necessary legislation in order to generate legal certainty.

Even though court president Arturo Zaldivar termed the verdict as a historic day for liberties, pro-legislation campaigners said the ruling left many cannabis users uncertain. 

Mexico United Against Crime, a non-governmental organisation, said that the decision does not decriminalise the activities necessary to carry out consumption such as production, possession or transport. 

The verdict leaves a legal vacuum with respect to consumption, cultivation and distribution of cannabis, the organisation said, urging Congress to issue the necessary legislation. 

One consequence of the ruling is that users will be able to get a permit from the national health regulator Cofepris more easily. 

According to told media reports, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is not personally in favour of the legislation. 

The legislation also does not allow commercialisation or personal possession of more than the already allowed 5 grams. The legislation, once passed, would make Mexico one of the few countries to legalise recreational marijuana, the others being Uruguay and Canada. 

For medicinal use, the drug was decriminalised in 2017. The legislation is also pushed at curbing drug-related violence. Over 3 lakh people have been killed since the army was deployed to fight drug cartels in 2006. 

According to experts, the legal recreational market could be worth billions of dollars in the country where 244 tons of the drug were seized in 2020 alone.

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