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How Mexico Court’s Ruling On Marijuana Affects The Drug War

University of San Diego's Justice in Mexico project director David Shirk discusses Mexico's Supreme Court ruling in favor of medical marijuana on KPBS Evening Edition with host Peggy Pico.

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The Mexico Supreme Court took a giant step toward legalizing marijuana for recreational use when it found the country’s ban on the production, possession and recreational use of marijuana is unconstitutional.

Supporters of last week's decision said it opens the door toward re-examining Mexico's role in the war against drugs. Thousands have died as drug cartels fight against the government and each other for control of the drug trade.

But others point out that the ruling won't change the fact that most of the marijuana in Mexico is destined to cross the border into the U.S.

David Shirk, director of the University of San Diego’s Justice in Mexico, a project that researches and promotes human rights in Mexico, said the Supreme Court ruling only directly affects the four individuals who brought the case.

“These four individuals are now protected,” Shirk told KPBS Midday Edition on Monday. “The other people do not have that right because of the way Mexico’s Supreme Court works. I think it’s a first step.”

But the ruling may compel other distributors or users of marijuana to ask the top court to consider their cases. The federal legislature may also consider changing the law.

As it stands, those who are found with five or fewer marijuana joints are not arrested but are referred to drug treatment centers, Shirk said.

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