This Week in History 3/12/04

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March 15, 2001: Notimex News Agency reported that Miguel Angel de la Torre, Mexico's Director of Technical Support for the Federal Preventive Police said that he supports legalization of all drugs as "the only possible solution... to combat narco-trafficking." De la Torre told Notimex the "corrupting power that the narco [traffic] generates is tremendous and in the consumer arena of money it is more important than the moral principles that the drug laws instill."

March 17, 1999: A report by the Institute of Medicine for the Office of National Drug Control Policy stated that, "there is no conclusive evidence that the drug effects of marijuana are causally linked to the subsequent abuse of other illicit drugs." IOM also found that "Scientific data indicate the potential therapeutic values of cannabinoid drugs for pain relief, control of nausea and vomiting, and appetite stimulation. This value would be enhanced by a rapid onset of drug effect."

March 17, 2001: La Jornada reported that Father Miguel Concha, head of the Dominican Order of the Catholic Church reading from a statement adopted at Centro de Periodistas de Investigation, a seminar organized by the Mexican Academy of Human Rights, said, "We who are Civil Society and its organizations -- the final document affirmed -- with the decided support of a mass media genuinely committed to democratic values... propose to consult, in the most open, professional and objective manner, what our societies think and decide about the deregulation and progressive decriminalization of the production, commerce and consumption of certain types of drugs."

March 17, 2001: Mexican President Vincente Fox is quoted in Unomasuno saying, "My opinion is that in Mexico it is not a crime to have a small dose of drugs in one's pocket... But the day that the alternative of freeing the consumption of drugs from punishment comes, it will have to be done in the entire world because we are not going to win anything if Mexico does it, but the production and traffic of the drugs... to the United States continues. Thus, humanity will one day view it [legalization] as the best in this sense."

March 18, 1839: Lin Tse-Hsu, the imperial Chinese commissioner in charge of suppressing the opium traffic, orders all foreign traders to surrender their opium. \ In response, the British send expeditionary warships to the coast of China, beginning the First Opium War.

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