Ending a period of nationwide political inaction on the advancement of cannabis legalization, the capital city of Oaxaca has formally recognized that it does not have any laws against consuming cannabis in public. The city published a declaration on Wednesday that acknowledges the lack of prohibition and urges cannabis consumers to avoid smoking in the presence of children.
The statement was made public a day before the state of Oaxaca issued permits to 26 Indigenous communities that allow for the cultivation of marijuana for medicinal purposes.
Recognition of the right to consume cannabis in public places is key for marijuana users who do not own or rent a smoke-friendly property. It is one of the four central demands of Mexico’s nationwide Plantón 420 organization, which was key in spurring today’s municipal declaration.
“We congratulate the city of Oaxaca de Juárez for informing society that in Oaxaca de Juárez, consumption of cannabis in public spaces is not prohibited,” Plantón 420 founding member Miguel Fernández told MERRY JANE. “Today marks a historic step in the cannabis struggle, and for human rights.”
The Plantón 420 movement was kicked off with the establishment of a now two-year-old cannabis consumers’ protest camp in front of the country’s Senate building in Mexico City. The Mexico City chapter has held training sessions for activists from other states, and affiliated activist groups have sprung up, by Fernández’s count, in 14 states.
Plantón 420 activists in Oaxaca identified the gap in Oaxaca’s legal code earlier this year, and held a peaceful protest on February 20 featuring public consumption that ended in the arrest of one of the protestors.
“This will not stop us,” affirmed the Oaxacans in a subsequent broadcast on Facebook. “We want our voices to be heard as much as they can be.”
Activists traveled from the Mexico City Plantón 420 chapter for a subsequent protest in Oaxaca City on March 25. That action also resulted in the detention of two protestors. But it also led to city officials entering into official communication with the organization surrounding the question of what the Oaxaca de Juárez laws stipulate regarding the public consumption of cannabis. Those talks have seemingly yielded fruit with today’s declaration by the city.
“The City of Oaxaca de Juárez reiterates its commitment to human rights, and recognizes the work of the civic organization that peacefully exercises and defends its rights and those of other people,” begins the statement. “Such is the case of the organization ‘Plantón 420, with whom we have held a respectful dialogue concerning the recreational consumption of cannabis in the territory that comprises this municipality.”
“Given that no municipal regulation exists that expressly prohibits the responsible public Sumptionion of cannabis in public spaces, this government … has agreed that the baseline should be the Declaration of Unconstitutionality that the Supreme Court has issued in respect to the General Law of Health.”
The Mexican Supreme Court declared the prohibition of recreational cannabis to be unconstitutional in 2018, but lawmakers have yet to agree on related regulations. The inertia has left the drug’s consumers and producers without formal confirmation of their rights.