Mexico City's top prosecutor went on the record November 13 calling for the "slow legalization" of some drugs, with the government providing limited free distribution in an effort to combat the black market illicit drug business. At about the same time, Mexico's attorney general was in Ottawa telling the Organization of American States that member governments must fight any moves toward drug legalization.
In remarks made after a national security cabinet meeting and reported in the Mexico City daily La Jornada, Bernardo Batiz, head of the Mexican federal district's prosecutor's office, hardly sounded as if he were reading off the same script as Mexican attorney general Rafael Macedo de la Concha. "We could begin in the slum neighborhoods [presidios], which are places where there are true mafias dedicated to the drug traffic, and provide the drugs free and under medical control," suggested Batiz. "Beginning with that effort, from that experience, we could go to other places where the drugs would be provided freely."
The theme was discussed in the security cabinet meeting, Batiz told La Jornada, adding that participants discussed various ways of getting a grip on the drug market and fighting the ubiquitous retail drug trade. "It was said that it is possible to look for other paths," Batiz related. "I believe it is a problem hanging over us, and I think if there is a good treatment program and controlled delivery of the drugs, with a simultaneous medical project, and an education program for the youth, this problem could be sensibly reduced."
That's just the kind of talk Attorney General Macedo de la Concha was telling the OAS Monday he didn't want to hear. In a slap at his Canadian hosts, where marijuana laws are under siege and Vancouver hosts the hemisphere's only safe injection site, Macedo de la Concha insisted that the hemisphere must reject efforts to liberalize drug laws as part of its effort to suppress drug use and the drug trade. "Rejecting drug trafficking and preventing drug consumption without allowing its legal or controlled consumption is a form to do that," he said in prepared remarks. "The increased social acceptance" of drug use must also be fought, he added.
Macedo de la Concha's position is official policy; despite legalizer murmurings from members of the early Fox administration, Batiz's is not. And even while Batiz speculated aloud about a regulated drug distribution scheme, at the same meeting he was also plotting heightened enforcement of the drug trafficking laws and tighter cooperation with his federal counterpart.