Saturday, April 29, 2006

Mexico takes a bold step

Mexico's Senate has sent President Vicente Fox a bill decriminalizing drug possession.

Police would no longer bother with possession of up to 25 milligrams of heroin, 5 grams of marijuana (about one-fifth of an ounce, or about four joints), or 0.5 grams of cocaine _ the equivalent of about 4 "lines," or half the standard street-sale quantity.

The law lays out allowable quantities for a large array of other drugs, including LSD, MDA, MDMA (ecstasy, about two pills' worth), and amphetamines.

However the bill stiffens penalties for trafficking and possession of drugs _ even small quantities _ by government employees or near schools, and maintains criminal penalties for drug sales.

While it's great that Mexico's legislators realize that no one deserves to be punished for what they put into their own body (without harming anyone else) and that it doesn't make sense to waste police resources doing so, it's unfortunate that they've advanced a measure that is only a half-step in the right direction. Choosing to leave drugs unregulated and on the black market will still leave lots of problems. Whenever a trafficker is busted, its nothing more than a job opening for someone else looking for a lucrative career.

The bill has already been approved by both of Mexico's legislative bodies and is on its way to President Fox's desk, where it is expected to be signed.

1 comment:

Terry said...

I'm not sure if the new laws in Mexico are good or if they are really a crackdown in disguise.

They are increasing penalties for trafficking, declaring possession of anything more than a couple of joints to be an automatic trafficking charge, and giving local police the power to enforce these laws. (up until now only the federales enforced drug laws in Mexico)

Or at least that is what people are saying about the bill. Is this accurate?

If so it sounds like a crackdown to me.