Latin America: Mexican President Moves to Decriminalize Drug Possession

Faced with a mounting death toll in his war with powerful drug trafficking organizations, Mexico President Felipe Calderón has moved to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of drugs, according to a Reuters report Thursday afternoon. The only other source reporting the news Thursday evening was the Mexican news agency Notimex.

The measure comes as part of a public security proposal aimed at combating the traffickers with better coordination among security forces. But Calderón's moving to decriminalize drugs was a surprise move. His predecessor, Vicente Fox, sent a similar bill to congress in 2006, only to pull it in the face of pressure from the US and critics in both countries who said it would create "drug tourism."

Under the proposed legislation, people carrying up to 2 grams (0.07 ounces) of marijuana or opium, half a gram of cocaine, 50 milligrams of heroin or 40 milligrams of methamphetamine would not face criminal charges -- if they voluntarily agreed to undergo medical treatment "for their pharmaco-dependency." Those amounts are considered "for immediate personal consumption."

"What we are seeking is to not treat an addict as a criminal, but rather as a sick person and give them psychological and medical treatment," said Sen. Alejandro González, head of the Senate's justice committee.

People caught possessing up to a thousand times the personal dose units (about 4 ½ pounds of pot, a bit more than a pound of cocaine, or about two ounces of heroin or speed) would face criminal charges as drug possessors by the Common Public Ministry (or local courts). People caught possessing quantities larger than that would be treated as drug traffickers and dealt with by the Federal Public Ministry (or federal courts).

The idea is to free up police to go after the drug traffickers -- in other words, to intensify the deadly battle against the drug gangs. Prohibition-related violence has killed more than 3,000 people in Mexico this week, including nine persons whose executed bodies were found in Tijuana Thursday morning, making a total of 33 people killed in the last four days.

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Fox tried the same thing

but it was more enlightened. It was not a crime at all. That got shot down quick. Meanwhile it is 1920's Chicago in Mexico and they want to keep on fighting-- but those fat american dollars are quick to keep anything stupid going and this, like so many other things the States spends money on, will just be a pointless waste and continue to cost lives.

IF this was going on in the states and the outlaws finally started what essentially is a civil war, perhaps prohibition would be repealed. That would be a miracle. NOt going to happen.Too much money too much corruption and with our big dick in everything-- forget it. The US is like King Midas except its touch is one of shit instead of gold.

Matt_Potter's picture

Involuntary treatment?

So if the users caught do not agree to go into treatment for their pharmo-whatever dependency, what happens? Are they then given over to the judicial system? And it's still going to be cops that pick the users up right? All this is going to do is crowd up their treatment facilities with a bunch of potheads trying to avoid a criminal record and making it that much harder for people with serious addiction issues to get the help they need.

With all the horrendous prohibition-fueled violence going on down there, this measure seems almost completely worthless to me.
---
Matt Potter
Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Board of Directors
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, College Coordinator

Matt_Potter's picture

more...

The Houston Chronicle has the story now http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/6039045.html. This quote from the Mexican president just provides even more evidence to me that this proposed law is going to have little to no positive effect in Mexico.

"Drugs are the slavery of this century," Calderon said in a speech Friday. "Criminals seek to make slaves of children and youths. They seek to place drugs, sometimes free of charge, in schools, in neighborhoods, to create addictions, to generate dependency."

It's the same prohibitionist talking points. Save the children, protect your neighborhoods, etc. This proposed law doesn't represent any change in thinking about drugs and how they fit into modern society.

Also, the whole giving drugs away free of charge in school or on the playground is just nonsense as far as I'm aware. If anyone has heard of that taking place, I'd love to hear about it.
---
Matt Potter
Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Board of Directors
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, College Coordinator

Free drugs...

"They seek to place drugs, sometimes free of charge, in schools, in neighborhoods, to create addictions, to generate dependency."

I've been hearing this nonsence my entire life (i'm 71) and never known it to actually occur, unless they are including friends sharing in "free of charge" which is certainly not the implication.

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