A court in Mexico has ordered the country’s health authority to allow two unidentified people to possess, transport and use cocaine – but not to buy or sell it – advocates said Tuesday.
The first-of-its-kind ruling does not completely legalize cocaine and won’t take effect until it is confirmed by a higher court, according to a release from Mexico United Against Crime (MUCD), a non-governmental organization that seeks to end the country’s war on drugs.
“We have been working for a safer, more just and peaceful Mexico for years, and with this case we insist on the need to stop criminalizing users of drugs other than marijuana and design better public policies that explore all available options, including the regulation,” said Lisa Sánchez, director of the organization, in a news release.
An official from the Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risks told the AFP news agency that it has moved to block the court order, which was delivered in May. The case could make its way to Mexico’s Supreme Court: Under Mexican law, five similar decisions occurring on a related issue can set a standard that would be mandatory for all courts in the country.
MUCD used a similar strategy to push for legalization of marijuana, and in 2018 Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled that a blanket ban on recreational use was unconstitutional, Reuters reported.
The group hopes recent decision will push authorities to put more resources toward the prevention of violent crimes.
Mexico set a record for homicides in the first half of 2019 with 17,608, up 5.3% compared to the same period of 2018. The country of almost 125 million people now sees as many as 100 killings a day nationwide.
In 2018, the number of drug-related homicides in Mexico rose to 33,341, a 15% increase from the year before and a new record high, according to the Council on Foreign Relations.
The Mexican government is considering lifting the ban on drugs that are currently illegal according to the national development plan put forth by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, a left-wing politician who took office in December.
“The prohibitionist strategy is already unsustainable, not only because of the violence it has generated but because of its poor public health results,” the plan said.
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