Mexico’s supreme court has decriminalised recreational cannabis for adult use after a legalisation bill stalled in the country’s congress.
On Monday, the court ruled by a majority of eight to three that prohibition of personal consumption and home cultivation under the country’s health laws was unconstitutional.
Adults will be able to apply for permits to cultivate and consume their own cannabis from the health department, with criminal penalties for possession of more than five grams remaining in place.
In 2017, the supreme court ordered congress to draft laws to create a legal cannabis market, but it has dragged its feet.
Mexico’s president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said he would respect the ruling, but opened the door to a public referendum, with his own cabinet divided on the issue.
“We’re going to see what effects it has. [If we see] it’s not working to address the serious problem of drug addiction, that it’s not working to stop violence, then we would act,” he said, adding he could send a new bill to congress or push for a public referendum.
Co-founder of think tank Instituto RIA, Zara Snapp, said: “This is a step forward for the rights of cannabis users, but there’s still work to be done in congress to be able to regulate the market in a socially just way.”