Mexican Supreme Court Sides With Marijuana

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Cannabis reform efforts just took a big step forward in Mexico, which  eventually could lead to a new market for marijuana entrepreneurs.

The Mexican Supreme Court stated in a ruling this week that individuals should have the right to cultivate and distribute cannabis for personal use, according to The New York Times.

The ruling doesn’t immediately overturn anti-marijuana laws in the country. And this case in particular will only apply to four plaintiffs, who are members of a group called Mexico United Against Crime that wants the government to focus on violent offenders instead of marijuana growers, sellers and consumers

But the Times notes that it does pave the way for “a wave of legal actions that could ultimately legalize marijuana.” And that could create enormous possibilities on the business side of the equation.

The plaintiffs applied for a business license with the country’s drug regulatory agency but were denied. They filed an appeal, and that became the basis of the Supreme Court decision handed down this week.

For marijuana to be legalized by the courts in Mexico, there are two options. Either judges in the court’s criminal section will have to make the same ruling five times, or eight of the 11 Supreme Court members will have to support such a change, according to the Times.

It could be an uphill battle.

Public opinion is running strongly against the legalization of even medical cannabis, with the federal government, the Roman Catholic Church and the majority of Mexicans all opposed. And only an estimated 2% of Mexicans use cannabis, according to a 2011 survey.