Like its neighbors to the north, cannabis advocates in Mexico have been lobbying for years for marijuana to be fully legalized (or at least decriminalized). Recent events suggest that those efforts have paid off and that legal marijuana—at least medicinal, and potentially recreational—is coming to Mexico and soon.

Mexico legalized medical marijuana in June 2017, but the Health Ministry has not yet published any regulations. Last month, the Mexican Supreme Court weighed in on the issue, ordering the Health Ministry to issue regulations on medical marijuana within 180 days. The lack of regulations has made it “impossible for the plaintiff to access treatment based on [marijuana] or any of its derivatives,” according to the Supreme Court. A viable medical marijuana market thus appears to be on the horizon soon.

Things are less clear with respect to recreational marijuana. In October 2018, the Mexican Supreme Court ruled that an absolute ban on private cultivation, as well as personal possession and use, of marijuana is unconstitutional because it violates “the fundamental right to the free development of the personality.” While the decision sets a binding precedent for Mexican courts, further action from the Mexican legislature is needed to formally decriminalize marijuana.

Advocates are hopeful that with the opening of a retail market for medical marijuana, recreational marijuana isn’t far off. According to a recent AP article, marijuana proponents hope that the Congress of the Union will formally decriminalize marijuana before the end of 2019. Similarly, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) said in a recent interview that he believes Mexico will “go full legal this fall” with respect to marijuana. While that seems optimistic, the decisions of the Mexican Supreme Court are certainly giving additional momentum to the legalization effort.

We will continue to monitor these important developments and report on them on our blog.