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Mexico Judge Legalizes Cocaine—With a Catch

Ruling applies to 2 people, and must be approved by higher court
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 21, 2019 5:33 AM CDT
A fraction of the cocaine seized from a ship at a Philadelphia port is displayed at the US Custom House in Philadelphia on June 21, 2019.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

(Newser) – Recreational cocaine could soon be legal in Mexico on a case-by-case basis. A May ruling, which must be approved by a higher court, would allow two unidentified claimants to "possess, transport and use cocaine," but not sell it, in what Mexico United Against Crime calls a "historic step." MUAC brought the cases and seeks to end Mexico's war on drugs. It said Mexico City court had ordered Cofepris, the national health regulator, to authorize the cocaine use in "another step in the fight to construct alternative drug policies that allow [Mexico] to redirect its security efforts and better address public health," per the BBC. Cofepris, however, has yet to comply, arguing such a move is outside its legal authority. If a higher court does approve the ruling, it would apply only to the claimants.

Mexico's Supreme Court has already authorized recreational marijuana in individual cases, including for Rogue One actor Diego Luna, reports Al Jazeera. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who took office in December, has suggested other illegal drugs may be decriminalized. Citing rising violence and an increase in "the number of criminal organizations profiting from the illegality of drugs," MUAC's general director, Lisa Sanchez, claims "prohibition has failed and alternative approaches can work better." She tells Deutsche Welle, "This is why we are making the case at court that adult use of currently illegal substances, such as cannabis or cocaine, shouldn't be illegal or at least should not be punished by law and sanctioned with prison." (Drug cartels were blamed when 19 bodies were found this month.)

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