Mexican Supreme Court ruled on the “recreational” use of cannabis

At the end of this year, the Mexican Supreme Court of Justice debated wherein “recreational” use of cannabis should be authorized by the Federal Commission for Protection against Sanitary Risk (COFEPIRS), the Mexican Health Regulatory Agency.

A Mexican no profitable association, conformed by four individuals contested a refusal of a petition filed before COFEPRIS, to plant, cultivate, prepare, possess and transport cannabis for “recreational” use. The arguments in the appeal were, inter alia, that the refusal was based on a permission of the Mexican General Health Law that violates the civil right of personality and self-determination right related to the human dignity and recognized by the Mexican Constitution.

The District Court in charge of reviewing this Constitutional Action, at the first stage, dismissed the argumentation. The association appealed and due to the relevance of the case, the appeal was turned to the Mexican Supreme Court.

In brief, the Justice decided to declare unconstitutional some articles of the Mexican General Health Law as they foresee an extreme prohibition which attempt against the constitutional right of personality.

The decision addressed that there is a minor health risk caused by cannabis, which is not severe, therefore the use of cannabis does not require so extreme prohibition stablished in those provisions of the Health Law.

The Supreme Court ordered COFEPRIS the corresponding authorizations to these four individual members of the association, allow them to start: plant, cultivate, prepare, possess and transport cannabis but only for “recreational” use. The draft expressly excludes any act of commercialization, supply or any other that relates disposal or distribution of cannabis.

Finally, the Supreme Court‘s ruling considered that the actual restriction to use cannabis for “recreational” use is unconstitutional.

The decision was issued four to one. COFEPRIS complied with the decision on December 10, 2015, by granting to these four individuals the authorization to plant, cultivate, prepare, possess and transport cannabis for self-consumption on a “recreational” use, excluding any commercial activity.

There is no doubt about the relevance of this case, but the ruling has only impact at this moment to the four individuals, it does not constitutes binding jurisprudence to other Courts of Law, however, this precedent have had already a considerable impact in our entire legal system related to the use of this drug; for instance, currently, there are different levels of Mexican Federal Government that have started a serious and formal debate regarding the recreational and medical use of cannabis. In addition, there is already a legislative proposal in the Mexican Congress to approve the medical use of cannabis; for this purpose the Mexican Congress has created a Technical Council designed for the eventual issuance of regulations regarding cannabis.

This newsletter is intended only as a general discussion of the addressed issues, and should not be regarded as legal advice.

For further information on the content of this newsletter, please contact the Life Sciences Group:

who can be found at the following number: +52 55 5322 3000.

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