Mexico: Chihuahua Governor Adds Voice to Legalization Chorus, Extends Rhetorical Hand Across Border to Gov. Johnson 3/30/01

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Less than two weeks ago, Mexican President Vicente Fox told reporters in Mexico City that legalization of drug consumption and the drug trade may be the best solution to the problems of violence and corruption engulfing his country. Now, Gov. Patricio Martinez Garcia of the Mexican border state of Chihuahua has joined the chorus.

Flaring violence and social decay on the border -- much but by no means all of it generated by Mexican trafficking organizations grown rich off the illegal trade -- hit home for the governor when he recently survived a mysterious assassination attempt. Recently, an ex-policewoman shot Martinez Garcia in the head in Ciudad Juarez, where hundreds have been killed as warring cartels carry on their perpetual "adjuste de cuentas" (settling of accounts) with each other and law enforcement.

In a reflective interview in the Mexico City daily El Universal, Martinez Garcia told the newspaper the national government had failed in its fight against drugs and that drug trafficking and consumption should be addressed by the application of harm reduction measures.

And he pointed directly across the border for an example.

"There have been voices like that of the governor of New Mexico in the United States, Gary Johnson, who establish that the war on drugs is lost and that ask for it to be legalized," Martinez Garcia told El Universal. "And this voice has not been listened to, nor has his proposal been seriously considered. I believe this proposal must be studied seriously, because if the war is going to continue to be lost... with the deterioration of the quality of life for the citizens of the country, well, then, where are we heading?"

The governor, a member of the Revolutionary Institutional Party (PRI), which ruled Mexico uninterrupted for seven decades, and under which drug corruption became institutionalized, did not mention President Fox's recent remarks, although he did use some rhetoric that sounds as if it could have come from Fox's pro-business, socially conservative National Action Party (PAN).

Bemoaning the pernicious effects of modern society, Martinez Garcia called for the promotion of social, religious, and family values to escape "this political and social degradation."

"The reality is that the disintegration of society and of the family is moving rapidly," he said. "It cannot be that the 21st Century will bring us to the bottom of the sewer and bring the garbage with it."

Rhetorical concerns aside, the drug war consensus crumbles further in Mexico.

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Issue #179, 3/30/01 Editorial: Medical Marijuana Patients Shouldn't Have to Go to the Supreme Court | Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments on Oakland Cannabis Buyers Co-op Case, State Medical Marijuana Laws Will Stand Regardless | Interview: Alan Bock on Medical Marijuana in California | Eyes on the Prize: European Drug Reformers Call for Legalization, Target Global Prohibition Regime -- Brussels Confab Focuses on UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs | Mexico: Chihuahua Governor Adds Voice to Legalization Chorus, Extends Rhetorical Hand Across Border to Gov. Johnson | In California, the Medical Marijuana Struggle Grinds On | DEA Denies Marijuana Rescheduling Petition -- Petitioners Promise Appeal, Question Timing | Kampia vs. the Inquisition: House Republicans Rake Reformer Over the Coals | High School Drug Tests Barred Again, This Time in Oklahoma -- Divided US Circuit Court Decisions Herald Eventual Supreme Court Resolution | November Coalition Label Campaign | Kentucky Governor Signs Industrial Hemp Bill | Hemp and Medical Marijuana Initiatives Gear-Up in South Dakota, State Legislature is Hopeless | Calling All Spanish Speakers: Volunteers Needed to Proof "DRCNet en Español" | Harm Reduction Coalition's Latest Communication Now Available, Newsletter Provides Insights, Questions | The Reformer's Calendar | Errata
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