Last updateFri, 13 Nov 2015 5pm

City-based pot heads head to Supreme Court

A Guadalajara collective that supports the legalization of marijuana has started a legal quest that may allow some of their members to indulge in the weed without fear of breaking the law.

Between eight and 12 members of Guadalajara 4:20, a local NGO that is pushing for the relaxation of drug laws, will seek the services of constitutional lawyers who last week won a landmark victory in the nation’s Supreme Court.  The judges ruled that growing, possessing and smoking marijuana for recreation is legal under right to freedom laws. The ruling, however, only covered four plaintiffs in a single case.

According to Jose Luis Ortega of Guadalajara 4:20, the group intends to follow the same route as Sociedad Mexicana de Autoconsumo Responsable y Tolerante (SMART), the winners of last week’s case.  

Ortega acknowledged that before taking their case to the Supreme Court they will require “permission” from the Comisión Federal para la Protección contra Riesgos Sanitarios (Cofepris), Mexico’s equivalent to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

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{access !public}In the wake of the judges’ ruling, four other groups in Mexico have also indicated they will take similar legal steps to SMART.

The Supreme Court ruling created a media sandstorm, both at home and abroad, and forced  President Enrique Pena Nieto to publicly restate his opposition to the legalization of marijuana. 

Nonetheless, the president said he welcomed a debate on the issue, noting that it should include a broad section of society.   

The most recent national surveys on the matter indicate that around three-quarters of Mexico’s population do not want to relax laws governing the recreational use of marijuana.  Currently, the law allows a person to have in their possession a maximum of five grams without prosecution. 

The public is more sympathetic to the needs of people who find marijuana can provide relief from debilitating diseases.   In a public vote carried out a year ago in all 125 of Jalisco’s municipalities, 61 percent said they supported the medical use of marijuana, although almost the exact same number did not want to change current laws regarding recreational use.

In keeping with most senior Jalisco politicians’ hard-line stance on the legalization of pot, Health Sectary  Jaime Agustin Gonzalez Alvarez this week repeated his opposition to any form of legalization.

“Scientific evidence clearly proves the dangers,” he said. “The combination of tobacco and marijuana increases the likelihood of lung cancer 18 times … it is proven to produce neurosis, psychosis and serious mental conditions.”

Gonzalez said certain medical benefits of marijuana have been known to the pharmaceutical industry for some time and FDA-approved derivatives are used in drugs that treat fibromyalgia, HIV and epilepsy, among others.

Although stressing he is “open to a debate,” Gonzalez said it would be an “abuse” to allow people grow their own marijuana in attempt to “self cure” their ailments.

GR staff

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