Drug Legalization Debate Erupts in Mexico

You can't call it a fringe idea when heads of state are bringing it up. Following Mexican President Felipe Calderon's call for a debate about legalizing drugs, his predecessor Vicente Fox is going a step further and calling for outright legalization.

flag of Mexico
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Former President Vicente Fox is joining with those urging his successor to legalize drugs in Mexico, saying that could break the economic power of the country's brutal drug
cartels.

"We should consider legalizing the production, distribution and sale of drugs," wrote Fox, who was president from 2000 to 2006 and is a member of Calderon's conservative National Action Party. "Radical prohibition strategies have never worked."

"Legalizing in this sense does not mean drugs are good and don't harm those who consume them," he wrote. "Rather we should look at it as a strategy to strike at and break the economic structure that allows gangs to generate huge profits in their trade, which feeds corruption and increases their areas of power."

The full-on legalization debate that's seemed inevitable in Mexico for so long now is finally beginning to take shape. And isn't it amazing that the discussion is emerging from the highest levels of government? In America, it's taken decades of grassroots activism to provoke a serious discussion within mainstream political culture. Our president remains rudely dismissive even when confronted by surging support for reform within his base.

Though engaged in the same conversation, our two countries are worlds apart when it comes to the consequences of prohibition. The exhaustion felt by Fox and Calderon is beyond justified and, if anything, I'm surprised they're only now beginning to test the waters for a change in direction. Given the imperative that there remain synchronicity between Mexican and American drug policy, my best guess would be that Mexican leadership has been anticipating a move towards legalization for some time now and simply waiting for a favorable political climate in which to begin floating the idea.

At the very least, vocalizing Mexico's reluctance to continue prohibition is a fine negotiating tactic when it comes to securing American drug war funding. "Pay up, or we'll shut it down," is probably the best angle they've got at this point. Let's hope there's more to it than that.

Location: 
Mexico
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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What really had me smacking

What really had me smacking my head over this was the reaction by Kerlikowske, as described in the Dallas Morning News:

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/world/mexico/stories/DN-legalmexico_08int.ART.State.Edition1.274d380.html

Check this out.  When asked if a legal marijuana market in the US would cut down on gang power -- you know, by removing two thirds of their freaking funding -- he said "all the things they are involved in, all these incredibly horrible crimes, of which narcotics is only a part, would still go on." [emphasis mine].

Funny, when the statements are made in a way that place all of the blame on “drugs” — instead of the criminal market for drugs — they are: Drug gangs. Drug killings. Drug kidnappings. Drug-caused violence. Narcoterrorists.  Kerlikowske and his ilk can't talk enough about drugs causing violence.  But when the question is framed in a way that places the burden of proof on the obvious ramifications of prohibition, all of a sudden narcotics is “only a part” of the terrible crime problem.

What complete, total frauds and liars. I shouldn't be surprised, I know, but the audacity still shocks me.  We’re lucky that the wall is crumbling down before it imprisons us all.

 "We’re lucky that the wall

 "We’re lucky that the wall is crumbling down before it imprisons us all." I agree with this statement one-hundred percent. The way I see it, we could go one of two ways. Either we keep heading into a dystopian future where every aspect of our lives are controlled. Or society as we know it continues to break down allowing our ideas to permeate(sic) public consciousness and facilitate real change. Whatever happens, we have a long and ardouis road ahead of us.

Fox has blood on his hands

Where were Fox's balls when the idea of legalization, nay, basic decrim, was put on the table for him when he was in office during the Bush years? If you think about it, the 28,000 corpses found in lye pits and littering the streets of Jurez are his doing. He's got blood on his hands like no other politician I can think of.

The Wall

The Berlin wall fell.

Prohibition will end.

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