Mexican Supreme Court Rules Cannabis Prohibition Unconstitutional
Cannabis has been flowing into the United States from our neighbors to the south from well over a hundred years. In the years of the Federal alcohol prohibition, Tijuana and other border towns became sprawling tourist attractions as members of the Hollywood elite popularized the expat travel across the southern border for a taste of tequila, matadors, and freedom. Now, it seems that American tourists may be flocking south of the border once more—this time, search of a different past-time: cannabinoids.
For years, illegal cannabis has been making its way across the border to be sold from places as near as the beaches of Los Angeles and as far as the crowded streets of New York. The Federal Bureau of Narcotics, and later the DEA, exhausted millions of dollars trying to eradicate this problem, with little-to-no success. It turns out cannabis export is too lucrative; the cannabis trade too popular.
Cannabis plants are native to Mexico, especially the southern states like Oaxaca. It was used in native indigenous people’s rituals for centuries as a way to open the mind and become more in touch with the spirit, not unlike the psilocybin-containing “magic” mushrooms also found in regions of this country. Entrepreneurial farmers would later domesticate and grow cannabis in modest numbers. But it wasn’t until the cultural revolution of the 1960’s that cannabis became exceedingly popular, and with the demand rose the supply.
Because of the drug trade and the connotation of association with the cartels, Mexicans have traditionally held a negative view of cannabis, calling it the “devil weed” (la planta del diablo). However, a fundamental shift of thought has occurred in the last decade, as research began emerging regarding the vast medicinal qualities of the plant and its cannabinoids. This has been accompanied by a cultural shift most likely influenced by the stateside legalization movement, the overall effect of which has been to reduce the taboo previously felt.
The case that the Mexican supreme court just ruled on is not the first of its kind that the justices have addressed. In fact, the significance of this ruling comes exactly from that fact. According to Vox, “Under the country’s legal system, once the Supreme Court reaches a similar decision in five separate cases, the standard set by the rulings applies to the country’s entire court system.”
It’s important to note that this ruling doesn’t in itself legalize cannabis in the country. It’s sale and distribution are still not allowed. But, it does technically decriminalize its use, paving the way towards future legislation.