Why Mexico Is Only Allowing 4 People to Grow Weed

November 30th 2015

On November 4, the Mexican Supreme Court ruled that individuals should have the right to grow and distribute marijuana for personal use. As it stands, however, that ruling only applies to the four plaintiffs who brought the case to court. And while Mexico's president, Enrique Peña Nieto, said the government would respect the decision, he has also made it clear that he opposes the eventual legalization of marijuana.

RELATED: Mexico Just Made a Bold Move on Marijuana

The case brought before the Mexican Supreme Court in 2013 is unlike many that we've seen play out in the U.S., which generally regards legalization as a state issue. Those who advocate for legalization in America cite research into marijuana's medical value, or argue that the criminalization of cannabis contributes to the country's mass incarceration problem.

Both are valid arguments, but the November ruling in Mexico is of a different breed: the plaintiffs in the case contend that the country's constitution protects an individual's right "to be unique and independent," and that the prohibition of pot infringes upon that right. Discovery News posted a video that effectively clarifies the case.

Because marijuana use is a personal choice that only affects the users, it would be unconstitutional to take away an individual's right to develop their personalities by smoking pot—or so the legal argument goes. And it was apparently convincing, too. Justice Olga Sanchez, who voted in favor of the ruling, said that the "court recognized the reach of personal freedom."

The "argument for sanctioning marijuana use isn’t entirely unprecedented," the Atlantic reported. "Several cases concerning drug possession in Canada have invoked human-rights language ... A 1994 constitutional court case in Colombia also leveraged the language of the 'free development of personality' in arguing against the criminalization of drug use."

Still, legalization advocates in Mexico have largely focused on the relationship between the country's harsh marijuana laws and powerful drug cartels. By criminalizing cannabis, Mexico has enabled cartels to thrive, and that's contributed to drug-related violence in the country, they say. There have been more than 100,000 deaths related to the drug war, Discovery News reported.

RELATED: The Surprising Effect Legalized Marijuana Is Having On Ruthless Mexican Drug Cartels

If Mexico were to legalize marijuana, it would theoretically curb drug-related violence in the country, as ATTN: previously reported.

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