Friday, April 28, 2006

Mexico's Congress passes bill to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana, ecstasy, cocaine, and heroin for personal use

President Vicente Fox says he will sign it.

Looks like we'll get a chance to see how well decriminalization works a bit closer to home than the Netherlands. The laws will still be slightly more strict than the Netherlands in some regards (e.g., drug sales will not be decriminalized), less strict in others (the Netherlands is tougher on cocaine and heroin).

The bill says criminal charges will no longer be brought for possession of up to 25 milligrams of heroin, five grams of marijuana — about one-fifth of an ounce, or about four joints — and half a gram of cocaine — about half the standard street-size quantity, which is enough for several lines of the drug.

"No charges will be brought against ... addicts or consumers who are found in possession of any narcotic for personal use," the Senate bill reads. It also lays out allowable quantities for a large array of other drugs, including LSD, MDA, ecstasy — about two pills' worth — and amphetamines.

(Via Radley Balko at The Agitator.)

By contrast, the U.S. uses SWAT teams to go after nonviolent offenders and engages in significant abuses (see the numerous examples of abuse at Balko's blog, including the Lester Siler case and the Cory Maye case), and does things like this, which seems like a misapplication of law enforcement resources to me.

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