Latin America: As Blood Continues to Flow, Mexico's Opposition Calls for Drug Legalization -- Starting with the US

With the death toll from drug prohibition-related violence in Mexico at around 600 so far this year, the country appears to be on a path to match or exceed the 2,000 drug war deaths reported last year. While military operations authorized by incoming President Felipe Calderon of the National Action Party (PAN) have led to arrests and drug seizures, they appear to have had no substantive impact on the multi-billion dollar a year business of supplying Americans with the illegal drugs they demand.

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Javier González Garza
Now, as the nation ponders a fundamental reform of the government itself, the leading opposition party, the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) is calling for a National Agreement to Combat Organized Crime (read: the drug trade), which would include discussion of legalizing drugs.

The first rumblings came in the middle of last week, when Javier González Garza, the PRD's legislative coordinator in the Assembly, called for an end to the drug war. The endless war against the so-called drug cartels is fruitless, he said in an interview posted on the party web site.

"I believe that we cannot continue with this affair thinking we are going to combat the problem of the drug traffic without more radical measures," said González Garza. "One of these has to be the legalization of drugs in the United States. Then, we could begin to change things. Those military operations during this presidency, it's obvious that they are not obtaining results. I think that the US is the largest market and because of that, there is where we can achieve an international accord where we can pass to the next level, to legalize the consumption of certain types of drugs, and then eliminate this type of thing that is happening. That's one part," he said.

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René Arce Islas
"The other part has to do with being able to think of other actions," González Garza continued. "This war, as it is now conceived, will cause us to lose everything; it doesn't make any sense. There have to be changes in that."

Then, last Friday, PRD Sen. René Arce Islas, secretary of the Senate's Public Security Commission, proposed the "National Agreement to Combat Organized Crime," including drug legalization. Ending drug prohibition is controversial, but reasonable, said Arce. "Evidently, that is a radical action that generates much controversy, but if we analyze it with maturity and serenity, evaluating the pros and cons, the risks and potential benefits, you cannot discard being able to arrive at an agreement that would, from our point of view and many specialists, do away with the drug traffic and the delinquency that accompanies it."

The PRD and its allies control 157 seats in the 500-seat Assembly, while the PAN controls 206, and the party of the former "perfect dictatorship," which ruled Mexico for seven decades, the PRI, is reduced to third place with 106 seats. In the last legislative session, a bill that would have decriminalized drug possession in Mexico was on the verge of passage when pressure from the United States caused then President Vicente Fox to back away. Will another year's worth of drug prohibition-related horrors lead to a different result this time around?

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cannabis legalization is the logical place to start

If that is a success and reefer madness propaganda is exposed to the general public as a pack of creepy lies, people should be more willing to ask how much of the problem caused by hard drugs lies with prohibition and demonization and how much with the drugs themselves. And whether drug rehabilitation would work better without the criminal stigma.
Psychedelic substances lie in a category of their own, powerful and subject to abuse, but with huge potential for positive when used in a safe setting, which cannot be denied by any serious person.

Decriminalization of all drugs... not just cannabis...

Decriminalization rather than legalization, since the state has no right to infringe upon people's right to self-medicate... This is what is constitutionally speaking most at stake. The three branches of government should just bow out of forcing people to abide by laws passed in the interest of the drug-dealers and Wall Street. The black-market created by prohibition accounts for 99.999 percent of the problems related to the use of the existence of the banned goodies... some of which are poison, of course, just as many pharmaceutical drugs are poison... Everyone with an ounce of brains knows this... So we are not up against something we can just write to our government about... All citizens in every country must make their disgust with the so-called war on drugs known and all users of banned substances declare their unwillingness to continue to be accomplices to this DISGUSTING SITUATION... There are infinitely more deaths caused by the remedy than by the illness, which would largely disappear if prohibition were to be wiped off the map of this earth...

I've been wondering...

When Fox bowed to pressure from the US to veto the will of his own people to decriminalize, what was his incentive? He was leaving office shortly after, so what did he care what the US gov't wanted? He must've gotten a bribe of some sort... maybe some smart reporter could track it down. What's he doing now? Probably a consultant for some big pharma or prison business funded by our gov't.

Legalize: For Mexico's Sake! (I'm with it, but it won't fly)

all drugs must be legal, not just cannabis. Honestly, it's absurd. All these NORMLies need to learn a thing or two about other drugs, particularly the so-called hardest drugs like heroin. Heroin=diamorphine=indistinguishable subjectively from morphine, or oxycodone. When they gave you morphine or oxycodone (percocet) in the hospital, did you go crazy or get a disease?

Disease and OD's do occur in users of other drugs, but not 'cause of the drug -- if you're forced into a desperate life, you take risks, and if you don't know the purity of your drugs, you have to take a risk simply to lose. Voila -- death. Doesn't need to be that way.

I say we start by legalizing the drug that has been in use the longest: morphine. And it's close (subjectively indistinguishable) cousin, diamorphine, aka heroin.

It makes sense for another reason: more adults in developed countries have taken an opiate than any other type of psychoactive drug that is currently illegal for "recreational" use.

Hey, wait, we don't have to start with any particular drug -- let's revert back to the default in one fell swoop, without dividing the legalization troops into camps about which drug is least harmful (try quantifying that meaningfully -- actually don't, my point was it's a waste of time, Mr. Freaky-nomics). Let's LEGALIZE EVERYTHING NOW.

How funny that Mexico wants the US to legalize -- why not set a good example themselves? Oh yeah, cause this nation of hypocrites that won't legalize the drugs it uses (I know some of these assholes myself, I love em, but they're assholes) won't stop buying their drugs and feeding their murderous cartels bellies.

If we won't do it because it's Right, and if we won't do it for God's sake (or the sake of what God would do if he existed, for you atheists), and if we won't do it cause America's the land of the free and we'll never be free until we have the very basic "right" (we already have the Right, we just have to deal with the wrong laws) to control our body with simple pharmaceuticals, then, finally, LET'S DO IT FOR MEXICO!

After all, we've been so hospitable to the kindly hardworking Mexicans who've visited us, and, after all, they've been selling us our unjustly illegal plant extracts all these years, I'm sure we'll bow to their request.

Not till America grows a soul, unfortunately.

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