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Reefer Madness … (Mexico ALMOST writes its own drug laws)

5 May 2006

A touch of madness??? NAH!

Everyone from the normally sane to the right-wing alternative universe of is reacting as if — well — stoned!. Lawrence Iliff provides some, uhhh… sober perspective on the new Mexican drug bill, alas buried on page 10A, of today’s Dallas Morning-News.

Before you book your flight on the Don Juan tour special, a couple of points

The new drug laws are much stricter in a lot of ways:

Under the old law, “addicts” could avoid prison time by providing a doctor’s certificate claiming whatever they had in their possession was necessary for treating their disease. Naturally, there are doctors willing and able (for a considerable consideration) to provide these certificates. There’s an apocryphial story about the trucker, caught smuggling a load of Acapulco Gold who claimed ten tons was for his personal use… and got away with it.

  • The new law restricts such claims to very small amounts of specific drugs.
  • Under the old law, drug offenses (“Offenses against Health” — note that Mexico has always seen drug addiction as a public health issue, not a strictly law-n-order one) were investigated by Federal Police, and charges brought in Federal Courts. Under the new law, local and state police and courts can also bring charges. Springbreakers of the more than normally stupid variety now have the option of being shaken down by both Federal and Local cops. .
  • Mexicans do not much tolerate drug-users. Gossip is the Mexican vice — the local hood hanging out on the corner smoking a joint is cruisin’ for a bruisin’ when his grandma, uncle Jose and older sister find out. And they will.

This isn’t a particularly radical law — Colombia’s possession laws are much more lenient. And for much the same reason. Drug users are a public health problem and a public nuisance. Drug trafficers are unfettered capitalists at their worst. They weren’t much of a problem when they stuck to bumping each other off. It’s their nasty habit of tossing hand grenades at reporters and cops that make them obnoxious. As in horse-shows, “close” is too damn close when it comes to grenades.

With their brother capitalists, the gun runners, on the other side of the border, and with 50% of the world’s narcotics buyers on that side, maybe the Mexicans have decided their not going to die in the U.S. War on Drugs.

For those who argue that Mexico shouldn’t export narcotics — ok, GROW YOUR OWN.

(04 May 2006)

10:13 PM (Mexico City time)… oh well, NEVER MIND!

Into the Spin Cycle…

Under U.S. Pressure, Mexico President Seeks Review of Drug Law

Published: May 4, 2006

MEXICO CITY, May 3 — After intense pressure from the United States, President Vicente Fox has asked Congress to reconsider a law it passed last week that would decriminalize the possession of small amounts of drugs as part of a larger effort to crack down on street-level dealing.

In a statement issued late Wednesday, Mr. Fox said the law should be changed “to make it absolutely clear that in our country the possession of drugs and their consumption are and continue to be crimes.”

Officials from the State Department and the White House’s drug control office met with the Mexican ambassador in Washington Monday and expressed grave reservations about the law, saying it would draw tourists to Mexico who want to take drugs and would lead to more consumption, said Tom Riley, a spokesman for the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Later in the day, Mexico’s chief of the Federal Police, Eduardo Medina Mora, tried to clarify the law’s intent, saying its main purpose was to enlist help from the state and local police forces. Until now, selling drugs has been solely a federal offense, and the agents charged with investigating traffickers are stretched thin, he said.

Mr. Medina Mora, the main architect of the first measure, which Mr. Fox sent to Congress in January, said it was true the law would make it a misdemeanor to possess small quantities of illegal drugs, but he added that people caught with those drugs would still have to go before a judge and would face a range of penalties. “Mexico is not, has not been and will not be a refuge for anyone who wants to consume drugs,” Mr. Medina Mora said.

The current law has a provision allowing people arrested on charges of possessing drugs to argue they are addicts and that the drugs were for personal use. The new law sets an upper limit on how much of each drug one could possess and still claim to be using it to support a habit, Mr. Medina Mora said, and stiffens penalties for people possessing larger amounts of drugs.

But the law drew a firestorm of criticism from American officials on the border and among American drug enforcement officials in Mexico, who argue any move toward decriminalization would encourage drug tourism. Some municipal officials on the border have worried that cities like Tijuana and Ciudad Juárez would become the Mexican equivalent of Amsterdam, where marijuana is legal in some bars. Mayor Jerry Sanders of San Diego, a former police chief, called the bill “appallingly reckless and incredibly dangerous.”

Judith Bryan, a spokeswoman for the American Embassy here, said the officials in Washington had urged Mexico “to review the legislation and to avoid the perception that drug use would be tolerated in Mexico and to prevent drug tourism.”

It is unusual for American officials to try to influence internal Mexican legislation.

James C. McKinley Jr. reported from Mexico City for this article, and John Broder from Los Angeles.

It is unusual for American officials to try to influence internal Mexican legislation? In a pig’s eye!

Into the rinse cycle

(Bush is pushing socialism in Latin America, again…)

Drug czar John Walters was shown saying that “if we are talking about legalizing
drugs, that’s bad for everybody.” (That suggests Walters had doubts that the new
law was legalization, but if so he wasn’t shown expressing them.) His
predecessor Barry McCaffrey skipped the “if,” and opined lugubriously about the
risk of “cross-border drug tourism out of the United States, to include college
students.” A drug counselor from San Diego talked of the risk that San Diegans
could “go across the border and buy heroin out in the open.” (How people were
going to openly buy a drug it would remain a serious crime to sell wasn’t made
clear.) Alexander talked of counsellors’ fears of being “swamped by a new
audience of addicts.”

A lone Mexican official was shown denying that the
law legalized drugs, and the view that the new law would help focus attention on
traffickers was attributed to the Mexican government, but those were left as
bare assertions, discredited by everything else said and shown.

This evening, under what appears to have been intense pressure from the U.S., Vicente
Fox capitulated, saying that he would not sign the bill his own appointee as
head of the Federales had shepherded through the Mexican Congress. It’s
hard to guess whether this rather public humiliation of Fox will damage
Calderon’s chances of beating Lopez Obrador; what seems certain is that none of
the American drug warriors whipping up the furore had bothered to think about
that question

From: “More Absurdity” by Mark Kleinman (Professor of Policy Studies at the UCLA School of Public Policy and Social Research, and Chairman of BOTEC Analysis Corporation, a Cambridge, Massachusetts firm that conducts policy analysis and contract research on illicit drugs, crime, and health care. Love it when I find somebody with credibility who agrees with me)


HELL NO, WE WON’T GO… along with your futile war on Mexican farmers (er… drugs)

More fallout on the latest intervention (as opposed to those in 1848, 1911, 1914, 1916, 1968, 1985…)

Michael O’Hare, of the Reality Based Community carps about Mexican court procedure — though why he thinks a public health law change was designed to reform the federal judicial rules of evidence is beyond me. Yup, there were problems with enforcing the new law, but I’m also confused as to whether that has anything to do with the U.S. government pressuing the Mexican president to veto this bill.

Jan Frei, on Alternet, sees the stupidity of it — he seems to blame the media, the feds and… spring breakers:

Our tax payer dollars made this idiotic, puritan statement from the U.S. Mexican embassy possible: “We [– the USA –] urged them to review the legislation to avoid the perception that drug use would be tolerated, and to prevent drug tourism.”

One aviso to Frei — this bill would let Mexicans get high… quite the opposite, it made it easier to bring drug dealers to court (in theory anyway). Besides, as the CIA has told us… it’s not Mexico that’s full of junkies.

One Comment leave one →
  1. 10 April 2007 3:54 am

    for heavens sake stop legalizing the cannabis

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