By Steve Elliott
The Mexican Supreme Court on Wednesday opened the door to legalizing marijuana, delivering a direct challenge to the nation's harsh drug laws and adding to the debate in Latin America over the costs of the War On Drugs.
The vote, by the court's criminal chamber, declared that individuals should have the right to grow and distribute marijuana for personal use, report Elisabeth Malkin and Azam Ahmed at The New York Times.
The ruling applies only to a single cannabis club that brought the lawsuit, and does not strike down Mexico's current drug laws. But according to experts, it is likely the first of a wave of legal actions that ultimate could legalize marijuana.
The flow of drugs from Mexico to the United States continues, after decades of the America-backed War On Drugs has produced much destruction but few lasting victories. The drug traffic fuels political corruption in Mexico, which remains engulfed in violence.
“It’s the drama behind all of our efforts,” said Juan Francisco Torres Landa, a corporate lawyer who was one of the plaintiffs in the Supreme Court case. "It's clearly a significant part of the business," said Peter Reuter, a University of Maryland expert on the global Drug War and a senior economist at the RAND Corporation.