Latin America: Mexico City to Decriminalize Marijuana Possession?

While the government of Mexican President Felipe Calderón has signaled that it wants to decriminalize drug possession, legislators in Mexico City aren't waiting for the government to act. The left-leaning Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) has introduced legislation that would decriminalize marijuana possession in Mexico City and provide for the opening of establishments that would sell up to five grams per person, the same limit as Holland's famous marijuana coffee shops.

The legislation was presented by PRD Deputy and Federal District Legislative Assembly President Víctor Hugo Círigo on October 14. It includes a provision limiting the amount of pot one could possess without penalty to 30 grams, or slightly more than one ounce. Círigo said the legislation also envisions allowing people to grow up to five plants in their homes.

Under current law, marijuana is illegal, and the importation of seeds or other products derived from marijuana is also illegal. In Mexico City, people caught smoking marijuana are typically fined 21 to 30 days minimum salary (a common way of computing fines in Latin America) or jailed for 24 to 36 hours.

Círigo told a press conference he was proposing the legislation because of the therapeutic uses of the herb. He also cited its potential impact on Mexico's drug trafficking organizations. Nearly 4,000 people have been killed so far this year in prohibition-related violence as the various so-called cartels, Mexican state, local, and federal police forces, and the Mexican military engage in a multi-sided war over the illicit drug trade.

"In Italy and Canada they utilize it for therapeutic uses, and in other countries like Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, and Portugal it is decriminalized," said Círigo.

Círigo said organized crime is making $13 billion a year off the drug trade. More than half of that -- $8 billion -- is derived from the marijuana business, he said.

"We are going to hit the drug traffickers where it hurts most, which is decriminalizing marijuana," he said.

If the measure were to pass in the local legislative assembly, it would then be sent to the federal congress, which could then amend federal health laws to allow for decriminalization. President Calderón called recently for the decriminalization of possession of small amounts of all drugs, including up to two grams of marijuana, but Círigo called Calderón's proposal "weak and timid."

In response to a question during the press conference, Círigo said he had smoked pot as a youth, but no longer did so. "I smoked in my youth in the '70s," he said. "I was class of 1978, and of course I know what it is to smoke marijuana."

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Finally, some common sense

Finally, some common sense in a world dominated by politicians who just don't understand that prohibition itself is causing far more harm to society than cannabis use does. It's interesting that our Drug Czar doesn't see a problem with the decriminalization of cannabis in Mexico. But, there's no such talk of that here in the USA. Does this mean that the evils of prohibition have to get as bad here as they are in Mexico before we see the Federal decriminalization of cannabis? Way to go ONDCP. That's prohibitionists for you. They'll spend our taxpayers dollars on the counter productive failure called the 'War on Drugs' until the bitter end. Or, atleast until there's no more money left to squander.

"Smart on Drugs" shows it's face

"We are going to hit the drug traffickers where it hurts most, which is decriminalizing marijuana," he said.

That comment, in and of itself, is the answer to Drug Prohibition's "CRIME" problem. I applaud Mexican legislators for their insight on how to serve the people of Mexico.

Once they see that decrim/legal works with the population, they might open their eyes a bit wider and realize the profit and growth potential of allowing for the growth and manufacture of Hemp products to suppliment the economy.

Mexico has finally found the "correct road" to journey on. If Calderon can pull this off, he'll be the President that lifts Mexico out of it's crime-ridden turmoil. The Mexican President campaigned under the slogan "Clean Hands." Now, he's got a chance to prove it!

when

how long will it take for this legislation to pass in mexico

re:when

Sadly the legislation is not going to pass, the right political power in Mexico is not going to let it happen, and sadly the political left in Mexico have done so many idiotic things, that people with moderate views will even consider the legislation. And foremost people in Mexico still believe Marijuana to be a harmful or gate opener to harmful drugs.

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