T Nation

Mexico Legalizes Drugs


#1

What a novel idea. Punish the suppliers and not the users. I could have sworn that I've heard that before...

Mexico's Congress Legalizes Drugs for Personal Use
Friday, April 28, 2006

MEXICO CITY - Mexico's Congress approved a bill Friday decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana, ecstasy, cocaine and heroin for personal use - a measure sure to raise questions in Washington about Mexico's commitment to the war on drugs.

The only remaining step was the signature of President Vicente Fox, whose office indicated he would sign it.

Supporters said the law would let police focus on drug smuggling, rather than on busting casual users. The bill also would stiffen many drug-related penalties: for trafficking, for possession near schools, and for possession of even small quantities by government employees.

Criminal penalties for drug sales would remain on the books.

"We can't close our eyes to this reality," said Sen. Jorge Zermeno, of Fox's conservative National Action Party. "We cannot continue to fill our jails with people who have addictions."

The administration of U.S. President George W. Bush scrambled to come up with a response.

"We're still studying the legislation, but any effort to decriminalize illegal drugs would not be helpful," a U.S. diplomat said on condition of anonymity.

The bill, passed by Mexico's Senate on a 53-26 vote with one abstention, had already been quietly approved in the lower house of Congress and was sent Friday to the president's desk. Presidential spokesman Ruben Aguilar indicated Fox would sign it.

"This law gives police and prosecutors better legal tools to combat drug crimes that do so much damage to our youth and children," he said.

If signed into law, the bill could have an impact on Mexico's relationship with the United States - and on the vast numbers of vacationing students who visit Mexico, often to take advantage of its rarely enforced drinking age of 18.

The bill says criminal charges will no longer be brought for possession of up to 25 milligrams of heroin, five grams of marijuana - about one-fifth of an ounce, or about four joints - and half a gram of cocaine - about half the standard street-size quantity, which is enough for several lines of the drug.

"No charges will be brought against ... addicts or consumers who are found in possession of any narcotic for personal use," the Senate bill reads. It also lays out allowable quantities for a large array of other drugs, including LSD, MDA, ecstasy - about two pills' worth - and amphetamines.

Some of the amounts are eye-popping: Mexicans would be allowed to possess a kilogram (2.2 pounds) of peyote, the button-sized hallucinogenic cactus used in some native Indian religious ceremonies.

Mexican law now leaves open the possibility of dropping charges against people caught with drugs if they are considered addicts and if "the amount is the quantity necessary for personal use." But the exemption isn't automatic.

The new bill drops the "addict" requirement - automatically allowing any "consumers" to have drugs - and sets out specific allowable quantities.

Sale of all drugs would remain illegal under the proposed law, unlike the Netherlands, where the sale of marijuana for medical use is legal and it can be bought with a prescription in pharmacies.

While Dutch authorities look the other way regarding the open sale of cannabis in designated coffee shops - something Mexican police seem unlikely to do - the Dutch have zero tolerance for heroin and cocaine. In both countries, commercial growing of marijuana is outlawed.

In Colombia, a 1994 court ruling decriminalized personal possession of small amounts of cocaine, heroin and other drugs. But President Alvaro Uribe, who is almost assured of re-election next month, wants to change that with a constitutional amendment.

"Allowing the personal dosage of drugs is inconsistent with a country committed to fighting the war on drugs," Uribe said at a campaign stop.

The effects could be significant, given that Mexico is rapidly becoming a drug-consuming nation as well as a shipment point for traffickers, and given the number of U.S. students who flock to border cities or resorts like Cancun and Acapulco on vacation.

"This is going to increase addictions in Mexico," said Ulisis Bon, a drug treatment expert in Tijuana, where heroin use is rampant. "A lot of Americans already come here to buy medications they can't get up there ... Just imagine, with heroin."

U.S. legalization advocates greeted the bill with glee.

Ethan Nadelmann, director of the New York-based Drug Policy Alliance, called it "a very good move," saying it removed "a huge opportunity for low-level police corruption." In Mexico, police often release people detained for minor drug possession in exchange for bribes.


#2

Sad when Mexico is a much more free and realsitic country in these regards than the US.


#3

Sad went you can't scroll down another inch and see the other thread on this:

http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=1038658&pageNo=0#1045149

Even more sad that you don't read newspapers or watch the news:

http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/americas/05/04/mexico.drugs.ap/


#4

What a great move in the right direction. Bravo to Mexico!


#5

You think it was a great move for them NOT to legalize drugs?


#6

Durr,

Just curious: are your Korean, by any chance? Durr has a 'special meaning' in Korean. Very related to this thread.

:slight_smile:


#7

I really do not know whether it would be a good thing or a bad thing. I know the Republican point of view is that it would be a major problem; they would talk about European Countries that have tried similar experiments. But on the other hand you could save $30,000 to $50,000 per person in Prison. We are not even talking of the people that would not have to commit crimes to get the money for drugs. Look at the money you would save on man power.

I think the biggest problem would be with children. It would make parents seriously face the Drug issue with their kids or possibly lose them. May be it would not be best to legalize it completely but some how make it more accessible so the price would drop. It is easy to grow marijuana and you can sell it for more than the price of gold. We are not even talking something that would sell for hundreds of dollars a gram.


#8

I think all drugs should be legalized. The government should have no authority to tell you or I what we can or cannot put in our bodies. That is a moral point. On a utilitarian view it would save us mucho dinero.


#9

If you would have bothered to read, you would have found out that Mexico DID NOT legalize drugs, which you said was a move in the right direction.


#10

All drugs used to be legal. This caused many many problems. That is why so many drugs are illegal today.

While I am all for the legalization of marijuana I cannot see how the legalization of heroin would be a good thing for our society.

Our drug laws need to be revamped but blanket legalization would be a nightmare of epic proportions.


#11

I did read it and realize that wasn't exactly what happened. However, they decriminalized carrying certain quantities. That is a move in the right direction.


#12

Untrue. The prohibition of alcohol caused more problems than when it was legal. The same holds true for other drugs.

A blanket legalization would most likely be too much for the public to handle. But this is due in large part to the propaganda campagn that the public has been fed for decades. Much like steroid disinformation. But decriminalizing small quantities is a move that I think the public would be in favor for.

Making drugs illegal creates an artificial market. Along with arms sales the illegal drug sales count for the 2 most profitable businesses in the world. This is why they are illegal. If you legalize them then you suck out the gargantuan profit. There are powerful vested interests in keeping drugs illegal. It has nothing to do with benevolence, morals and costs because if it did then we would truly be living in the bizarro world.


#13

What is untrue?

All drugs were once legal (or not illegal).

They were criminalized when society perceived them as a problem.

What you say about alcohol prohibition is true. It did fuel the criminal underworld.

Alcohol has been legal for a long time and I don't think anyone would argue that it continues to harm society, drunk drivers, fuels domestic abuse, etc.

We currently think the benefits to society outweigh the harm of alcohol.

You can make the same case for marijuana even though it is currently illegal.

When you start talking about highly addictive drugs like heroin, methamphetimine etc it is harder to see the benefit but easy to see the negatives associated with those drugs.


#14

Fuck no, you didn't read it. They didn't leagalize carrying ANY quantity:

Mexico's Fox balks at signing drug law

http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/americas/05/04/mexico.drugs.ap/


#15

Ahh... yes I did read it. The original post says nothing of Fox's decision not to sign. But it did say he intended to sign the bill which - if YOU read it - states that the public will not be charged with a crime for using or carrying small quantities of certain drugs.

And yes I just read your link which says Fox decided no to sign the bill. However, this info was not included on the original post.

It is too bad Fox didn't sign it but I would have been stunned had he done so. I'm still surprised that it passed the Mexican Congress. Maybe the reason it passed the majority in congress has something to do with leftist uprising of Latin America. I guess it's one more step for government power and corruption. Some things never change.


#16

To my understanding all drugs used to be legal but there were not necessarily more of a problem than we have today. They were made illegal at the time of prohibition and were never relegalized. I hope someone corrects me if I am wrong :slight_smile:


#17

Zap: Society never percieved them to be a problem in the sense that they needed to be illegal. It was only after vested interests started the whole "reefer madness" propaganda campaign.

The benefit to you and I being able to put in our bodies whatever we want is LIBERTY. Not to mention a significant drop in crime, a big savings in tax dollars and a gargantuan drop in law enforcement corruption.


#18

I think they were made illegal before then.

People got sick of the problems caused by the opium dens, as well as the narcotics in the various snake oils.

They were causing society harm so they were made illegal.

Pot was made illegal at a later time based on a campaign that pot was driving the black man crazy and making him rape white women.

They falsely classified it as a narcotic and it has never changed.


#19

Thanks Zap