Saturday, August 22, 2009

Mexico decriminalizes personal possession of drugs

After at least two prior attempts in 2006 and 2008, Mexico has decriminalized the personal possession of small amounts of marijuana, cocaine, heroin, LSD, and methamphetamine in order to unclog the courts and focus only on heavy trafficking. This will be an interesting experiment in decriminalization that will no doubt also provoke drug tourism to Mexico.

It appears that the new law is similar to the 2006 proposal, which was less radical than it may have originally appeared--it allowed local police as well as federal police to pursue drug crimes (a strengthening of the prosecution of drug crime) and allowed diversion to treatment for possession of small amounts of drugs rather than criminal prosecution. The new law doesn't allow criminal prosecution for personal possession, and mandates treatment diversion on a third offense. So it's not legalization, it's decriminalization.

1 comment:

Wakefield Tolbert said...

Interesting post, Jim.

I have mixed feelings about this kind of thing. My first response being that Mr. Tolbert will defer the more libertarian strain in him until such time as he is not liable for the collateral damage in everything from health clinics and rehab centers,etc, to the very real consequences in our personal lives, as with family and friends.

Sometimes the legal angle is a good kick in the netherregions to make life changes.

On the other hand, a war is raging south of the border due to our apetite for such.

Ini your opinion, and seeing that legalization and decriminalization are two different beasts here, do you think that a broader acceptance and broader decriminalization will soften the damage of the "drug wars"?

It is said that demand will level off, the dealers can be out in the open and set up pot shops a la California, etc, and people will flock there rather than secretive bales across the Rio Grande.

But is it that simple?

Will there not still be turf wars over such substances?

The argument is that the black market for other kinds of drugs in high demand does exist, but the level is low (Viagra, morphine knockoffs, etc, etc.).

Not sure about things like pot and LSD and strong punch dope like heroin.