Could Mexico City Become the Next Amsterdam?

As the failure of the drug war in Mexico becomes increasingly difficult to deny, we’re beginning to see a change in the tone of the drug policy discussion:

The architect of Mexico's offensive against drug traffickers, President Felipe Calderon, has sent a proposal to Congress that would decriminalize small amounts of drugs by giving those consumers the choice of treatment instead of jail time. Authorities hope the change would free up resources to go after higher-level criminals.

The speaker of Mexico City's legislative assembly has gone even further, saying he wants to turn the capital into another Amsterdam by legalizing small sales of marijuana, which he calls a "soft drug" currently controlled by criminals. [Chicago Tribune]

Can you even imagine how U.S. drug warriors would react if Mexico tried to legalize marijuana sales? Move over Cuban Missile Crisis, this would really be the greatest national security nightmare in American history. I’m not kidding, because these drug war cheerleaders really are more afraid of an 1/8 ounce of marijuana than the devil himself.

But as far as Mexico is concerned, regulated marijuana sales would be frickin’ ingenious. You could de-fund a major sector of the blackmarket economy, while cashing in on massive tourism income. It would be like Amsterdam, except with delicious tacos instead of the wretched crap that passes for food in the Red Light District.
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Red Alert

I'm sure the Drug Czar is sending his lackeys down there as we speak. You know why the "slippery slope" is so slippery? Because it's coated with bullshit.

Walters is there, right?

Isn't Walters in Mexico City? Has he left yet? I hope not, because I enjoy the contrast between his empty bluster and the Speaker's actual ideas to reduce the violence in his own country by going against everything Walters stands for. Decriminalizing drugs worries me, as the supply side is where most drug war violence occurs anyway, and I'm afraid such a half-measure would not succeed in reducing violence and could still be construed by drug warriors as proof that legalization would not work.

Unregulated MJ market is the foundation for all drug epidemics

All our major hard drug problems skyrocketed after regulation of the marijuana market was prohibited in 1937 (thank you Henry Anslinger) and meth, cocaine and heroin dealers were allowed to exploit the market.

Today, hard drug dealers have 25 million consumers of marijuana to market their garbage.

the reason we have so many bad politicians

is there are no more lee harvey oswalds.thats one thing you gotta give the previous generation they did not take no shit

Malkavian's picture

The really, really bad thing

Is that - as opposed to civilized Holland - the Drug War has now established a Reign of Terror in Mexico. I would expect the cartels to kill, threaten and beat the crap out of anyone trying to make a legal coffee shop.

Indeed, the Drug War has become it's own cause.

Drug War is now Raw Gurd

Smart politicians are going to run away,in masses, from the failures.If seen to be supporting a demonstrated, moral and economic failure and fraud,that politician will be unelectable.

Would be a good thing, but it wouldn't make that big a diference

They should go all out with the legalization of marijuana, not just legalize small sales. In fact, Holland itself has not legalized big sales (those who grow large quantities to sell to the coffeshops actually do so illegally, and those growers do get busted by the law). The partial prohibition of marijuana is responsible for a portion of the violence in holland (most of the rest of the violence is from the prohibition of hard drugs being sold to tourists, who go to holland to do drugs, not just to do marijuana). There is less violence in holland than in the UK, though, and much less than in the US (and obviously a million times less than in Mexico). If they completely legalized marijuana in Holland violence would go down even more, and if they legalized all drugs, violence would go down drastically.

If Mexico really wants to make a dent in the drug trafficking profits, they have to legalize the sale of large quantities.

Still, though, that would only do so much because it still leaves the cartels fighting over all the other drugs (including a larger local market than there is in the present because Mexico would start getting a lot of drug tourists). The only thing legalizing marijuana would do in Mexico is take the local marijuana market away from cartels (which, as malkavian said above, might in itself be difficult). Plus, violence might actually temporarily increase after legalization of marijuana because the cartels would fight even harder over the other drugs just to try to regain the profits they lose in marijuana.

Sadly, even if Mexico was to legalize all drugs, they wouldn't be able to do much about the violence because most of those drugs are intended for consumers in the US. For the violence to end in Mexico, both Mexico and the US have to legalize all drugs.


....and allow hundreds of pot shops to flourish and get out of control, like they did when the govt first allowed their operation. Learn from their mistakes. How many pot shops does a city need? Geesh.

how many bars selling alcohol?

what's the difference?

Re: how many bars selling alcohol?

I don't think the alcohol model should be the standard for regulating the marijuana market.

why not?

Alcohol is the most harmful of the two drugs. If anything, marijuana should be less regulated, not more.

The President of Mexico isn't serious about decriminalizing.....

.....or legal regulation of these drug markets. He just uses this as leverage against the US to get the funding and resources necessary for his crusade against the drug cartels.

not Mexico City

Mexico City is much too dangerous to walk around stoned; so, it could never be like Amsterdam. Cancun, Cozumel, Guadalajara, Vera Cruz, Puerto Vallarta (SP?), Acapulco, Santa Rosita and resort areas are much more likely... but still more dangerous than Amsterdam.

US Fascists

Quote: "Can you even imagine how U.S. drug warriors would react if Mexico tried to legalize marijuana sales? "

Well, yes. Here in Canada we tried to legalise, or even just decriminalise, cannabis back in yr. 2000. We had majority public support from Canadians. Politicians were ready to do it, it was being debated in an official "Bill" in the Parliament.
Then it got stalled, we suspect the stalling was due to pressure from American politicians, John Walters [the drug czar], etc., probably threatening sanctions or whatever heavy-handed tactics they use, and it all just ended when that session of Parliament was over, and we never heard about it again.

So America rules the world. Democracy means nothing to those who fear pot more than fascism. Canadians are utterly disappointed in our gutless politicians who got scared off by threats from the US, when we know damn well that the US has as much to lose by threatening trade sanctions, because Canada is the US's largest trading partner and the US depends on Canada's oil for 25% of their oil imports. We just have to say "TO HELL WITH YOU". But so far it has not come up again.

Same thing will happen if Mexico dares to assert themselves by leglaising pot... but it would be a huge boost to Mexico to do it.

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