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First Supreme Court Ruling for Medical Use of Cannabis in Mexico

20 August 2019

Mexico City

By unanimous vote, the Ministers of the Second Chamber of Mexico’s Supreme Court of Justice decided to grant the protection of Federal Justice to a minor child with a diagnosis of epilepsy associated with West Syndrome (the “Complainant”), ruling that the Ministry of Health and the Federal Commission for Protection against Health Risks (“COFEPRIS”) violated the Complainant’s right to health and ordered the authority to provide the Complainant with the medical treatment he needs (Ruling 57/2019).

Background:

  • On June 20, 2017, the Decree by which various legal provisions of the General Health Law were amended came into force. This reform consisted of regulating the use of cannabis and its derivatives exclusively for medical purposes. In the fourth transitory article of the aforementioned Decree, the Ministry of Health was ordered to harmonize the corresponding regulations to issue medical cannabis authorizations within 180 working days.
  • The Complainant was prescribed with an oil made with cannabidiol (CBD), however, his body generated tolerance to that substance, so it was recommended to replace it with a preparation made with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
  • The Ministry of Health did not harmonize the corresponding health regulations, thus preventing access by the Complainant to the required medication due to the lack of regulatory framework authorizing this drug in Mexico. Therefore, the Ministry of Health violated the fundamental rights of the Complainant, specifically his right to health.

Ruling effects:

  • The Ministry of Health must harmonize health regulatory framework in order to enable the medical use of cannabis within 180 working days; and
  • The Ministry of Health must guarantee the Complainant the comprehensive medical treatment required for his condition.

This is a major precedent in the Mexican pharmaceuticals sector, as the ruling compels the Mexican health authorities to fully implement the legalization of medical cannabis within the next 180 working days.

For a broader discussion of this case, its effects and scope both for the Complainant and for the evolution of the legalization of cannabis in Mexico, please contact our Head of Life Sciences, Mauricio Gómez Guerrero.

Related people

Mauricio Gómez Guerrero
Partner
Mexico City