A Mexican court has granted two people the right to use cocaine recreationally in the first ruling of its kind.
Mexico United Against Crime (MUCD), a non-governmental organisation which seeks to end the country’s war on drugs, filed legal papers in the case as part of its strategy to change the country’s drug policy.
The court said it would not allow the claimants to sell cocaine but they would be permitted to ‘possess, transport and use’ it; a decision MUCD described as ‘historic in the understanding of the drug phenomenon’.
However, the decision cannot be enforced until it has been reviewed by a higher court.
The Mexico City court ordered Cofepris, the country’s health authority, to authorise the two claimants’ use of cocaine in May. However, a Cofepris official told the AFP news agency such an authorisation is outside its remit, so Cofepris took steps to block the court order.
The decision will be reviewed by a tribunal and if a panel of judges approve of the original decision the ruling will come into effect, though it will apply only to the two people who brought the cases.
In a statement, MUCD said the cases represent ‘another step in the fight to construct alternative drug policies that allow [Mexico] to redirect its security efforts and better address public health.’
According to CNN, the organisation wants the government to reform drug policy as a way of improving public security. They have also campaigned for changes to legislation on marijuana.
Lisa Sánchez, MUCD’s director, said:
We have spent years working for a more secure, just and peaceful Mexico.
This case is about insisting on the need to stop criminalising users of drugs… and design better public policies that explore all the available options, including regulation.
Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has promised ‘radical’ changes when it comes to tackling drugs. He has repeatedly proposed decriminalising illegal drugs.
Mexico’s war on drugs began in 2006, when then-President Felipe Calderón sent the army to fight traffickers. The country is a major transit point for cocaine entering the United States.
According to the Council on Foreign Relations, there were 33,341 drug-related homicides in Mexico in 2018 – a 15 per cent increase from the previous year and the highest number since the country began keeping records.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.