Mexican court rules to allow recreational cocaine use

Mexico City (AFP) –


A Mexican judge has granted two people's requests to be allowed to use cocaine recreationally, the organization behind the cases said Tuesday, calling it a "historic step" -- though it must first be reviewed by a higher court.

The rulings, the first of their kind in Mexico, would allow the two petitioners to "possess, transport and use cocaine," but not to sell it, according to Mexico United Against Crime, an organization devoted to ending the Latin American country's "war on drugs."

The Mexico City court ordered the national health regulator, COFEPRIS, to authorize the petitioners' cocaine use in personal, recreational doses, the organization said.

However, a COFEPRIS official told AFP the regulator has moved to block the court order, which was delivered in May, arguing that issuing such authorization would be outside its legal remit.

The case must now be reviewed by a panel of judges.

The ruling will only take effect if they side with the original decision, and would only apply to the two people who brought the cases, whose names were not disclosed.

"This case represents another step in the fight to construct alternative drug policies that allow (Mexico) to redirect its security efforts and better address public health," Mexico United Against Crime said in a statement.

"We have spent years working for a more secure, just and peaceful Mexico. This case is about insisting on the need to stop criminalizing... drug users and designing better public policies that explore all the available options," said the group's director, Lisa Sanchez.

Mexico has been moving slowly away from its strict prohibitionist drug policies in recent years.

The Supreme Court has authorized recreational marijuana use in individual cases, including one brought by the Hollywood actor Diego Luna.

And leftist President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has repeatedly said the country should evaluate decriminalizing drugs. His party, Morena, has introduced a bill in Congress to legalize recreational marijuana use.

Mexico has been hit by a wave of violence since the government deployed the army to fight the country's powerful drug cartels in 2006.

Since then, more than 250,000 people have been murdered, including a record 33,755 last year.