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A recent Supreme Court ruling and newly-elected government suggest Mexico could soon follow Canada down the road of cannabis legalization.

Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled Oct. 31 – for the fifth time since November 2015 – that a total prohibition of recreational marijuana consumption is unconstitutional.

By reaching five similar rulings, the Supreme Court crossed the threshold that establishes jurisprudence.

The ruling doesn’t allow commercialization, but it does permit personal possession and home growing.

Immediate consequences of the ruling include:

  • The Federal Committee for Protection from Sanitary Risks (COFEPRIS ) will have to authorize applications of people looking to grow marijuana for personal use.
  • Mexican courts are required to follow this precedent in similar cases.
  • Parliament must act to amend the necessary laws to reflect the court’s ruling.

Jose Alberto Campos Vargas, a lawyer with the Mexico-based law firm Sanchez DeVanny, says, “This jurisprudence only refers to the unconstitutionality of the prohibition for use, personal possession and self-growing, however by no means allows or permits commercialization.”

Until relevant laws are changed, recreational use is legal only for those who ask – and get approval – for its use.

High-ranking members of the incoming Andres Obrador administration have signaled support for drug reform.

Marcelo Ebrard, who will become the foreign minister when Mexico’s new government takes office Dec. 1, told reporters the nation could “absolutely” follow Canada’s example and legalize marijuana.

“We think it is a very interesting option in the short term for Mexico,” he told reporters, according to the Agence France-Presse.

“We think there are two options: the Canadian model or the Uruguay model.”

Ebrard was among seven members of President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s incoming cabinet – including former Supreme Court Judge Olga Sanchez Cordero – who were in Ottawa last week to meet their Canadian counterparts.

Cordero, who will be the first woman to head up Mexico’s Office for Domestic Affairs, said in June she would ask the new president to legalize cannabis from seed to sale, even for recreational purposes.

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