Green light: Group of Mexican activists wins right to grow & smoke own marijuana

A man gestures during a demonstration in support of the legalization of marijuana outside the Supreme Court building in Mexico City, Mexico, November 4, 2015. © Edgard Garrido
A historic ruling by the Mexican Supreme Court has allowed the recreational use of marijuana for a group of four people. Many see the move as the first step to legalizing the substance in a country torn by drug violence.

The court voted 4 to 1 that banning people from growing marijuana for their own consumption was unconstitutional.

The ruling doesn’t mean the general ban to sell and grow weed is revoked, but many tout the decision, saying it could see marijuana legalized eventually.

Demonstrators marked the decision by smoking joints outside the Supreme Court.

"We won!" said Francisco Torres Landa, a 50-year-old lawyer and a member of the advocacy group called the Mexican Society for Responsible and Tolerant Personal Use (known by its Spanish abbreviation SMART).

Supreme Court members explained why they think the move is essential.

"If ... this Supreme Court is taking such an important step toward legalization of drugs, or at least some of them, I suggest that we are equally careful and responsible in crafting a ruling of the same magnitude," said Judge Jose Ramon Cossio, who voted in favor of the legalization move.

Justice Arturo Zaldivar, who also supported the step, told AFP that the country's marijuana prohibition is an "extreme" and "disproportionate" measure.

Nevertheless, the judge who voted against, Jorge Mario Pardo, said that the ruling could not function because it doesn’t deal with the prohibition against obtaining the seeds to grow marijuana.

READ MORE: Role reversal: US weed now being smuggled into Mexico

The ruling comes two years after the advocacy group brought their case to court.

Just over five years ago, Mexico made it legal to carry up to 5 grams of marijuana for personal use.

However, the issue is highly controversial, due to the drug-related tensions in the country, with tens of thousands of killings happening yearly in Mexico.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto spoke out against the legalization, but said he “accepts and respects” the latest ruling.

Some believe marijuana legalization could help deal with the widespread drug cartel violence.