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Mexico top court decriminalizes recreational marijuana use

Mexico’s Supreme Court on Monday decriminalized recreational marijuana use for adults, declaring its prohibition under the health law to be unconstitutional, after a legalization bill stalled in Congress.

“Today is a historic day for liberties,” court president Arturo Zaldivar said after the decision was approved by eight of the 11 judges.

The ruling comes after Congress failed to enact legislation legalizing recreational marijuana use by an April 30 deadline set by the country’s highest court.

The landmark bill was approved by the lower house in March but still needs final approval by the upper house, the Senate.

In April, the ruling majority in the Senate said it was considering postponing the final discussion of the law until September.

The legalization push is partly aimed at curbing drug-related violence that claims thousands of lives each year in the Latin American nation.

A major market

The decision is a milestone for Mexico, of 126 million inhabitants and plunged into a violent spiral since 2006, when the federal government launched a controversial military anti-drug operation.

Since then, there have been more than 300,000 murders, most attributed to organized crime, so legislators and activists believe that legalization can help stop the bloodbath.

Promoters of decriminalization, such as the Grupo Promotor de la Industria del Cannabis (GPIC), consider that the recent legal measures profile Mexico as the largest market in the world, above the United States and Canada.

In 2020 alone, 244 tons of marijuana were seized.

The most recent national survey on drugs (2016) found that 7.3 million Mexicans between 12 and 65 years old tried marijuana at some point and 1.82 million regularly used it.

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