Mexico Just Took A Major Step Toward Legalizing Marijuana

Photo: Hector Guerrero/Getty Images.
Marijuana lovers feeling bummed about Tuesday's defeat of a pot legalization measure in Ohio might want to look to Mexico for a mood lifter.

Mexico's Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that people have a right to grow and consume cannabis for personal use, a move advocates say could pave the way for legalization there, according to The New York Times and other outlets.

The Mexican Association for Responsible Self-Consumption and Tolerance brought the issue to the court's attention after a health regulator rejected the group's request to grow the drug, according to GlobalPost. On Wednesday, the court ruled on the side of pot proponents, based on the argument that the government "recognizes an individual’s autonomy to engage in recreational activities that do not harm others," the Times reported.

The drug trade has long taken a huge and violent toll on Mexico and its citizens. Mexican officials reported more than 160,000 homicides between 2007 and 2014, many of which were believed to be connected to the country's drug war, according to PBS' Frontline.

While the actual number of pot smokers in Mexico is believed to be very small — much of the drug product trafficked through the country ends up in the United States and other places — some advocates say legalizing marijuana there could help take power from the cartels and give citizens a safer way to secure cannabis for personal use.

Mexico is far from the only place where officials are rethinking drug laws.

Uruguay legalized marijuana in 2013. In the United States, Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington state, as well as Washington, D.C., have enacted their own measures allowing for recreational use. Canada's new prime minister, who was sworn in on Wednesday, has pledged to legalize pot. And Ireland's top minister for drug strategy recently said he wants to decriminalize possession of small amounts of drugs for personal use in that nation.

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