Cartoon shows Mexican President Calderon punching a

narco-trafficker, as Defense Secretary Robert Gates sits

on the Pentagon's bag of money.

[Excelsior, Mexico]



Excelsior, Mexico

How Mexico Could Legalize Pot - Whether U.S. Likes it or Not


"If all of Mexico were to adopt the Californian legislation (or some version like it that didn’t go any further), Washington would have no political argument to pressure us with, since our natural response would be, 'And why is such legislation permitted in 13 of the American states?'"


By José A. Crespo



Translated By Douglas Myles Rasmussen


February 27, 2009


Mexico - Excelsior - Original Article (Spanish)

Those of us who consider that the least bad option for dealing with drugs would be their (gradual, careful, exploratory) decriminalization, and treating the problem as a public health issue (as is already the case with alcohol and tobacco), are aware of the difficulty of implementing such a political strategy. We know that as long as the United States opposes such a measure, it will be impossible to implement, since the pressure from the country against such a move would be irresistible for the weak governments of Latin America. 


From his statements, it seems that [President] Felipe Calderón is one of those who think this way, contrary to what one might infer from his costly anti-narco-trafficking strategy. At least some of the statements he made in his second State of the Nation speech suggest this. When asked by journalist Denise Maerker, "Wouldn’t it be cheaper in resources and human lives to promote the legalization of drugs?," Calderón replied: "That's of course an alternative that will have to be explored, (but) it should be a universal effort that I don't see … I understand the logic, which is to kill off the economic stimulus. But if, for example, the ban persists on the northern side of the border, you won’t kill the economic stimulus and will allow the impunity to worsen."


So in this regard, the main problem Calderón sees in legalization is that it won't also be applied in the United States, so the illicit trade would continue. 


But the United States has already legalized part of this trade; that is to say, cannabis. Not at the national level, it's true, but in 13 of the U.S. states. This shows that to decriminalize marijuana, it isn't absolutely necessary to wait for everyone else to do it (and not the entire continent). The entities of the American Union that have already done this didn’t wait to do so by national means: they decided to do so in a sovereign manner, despite the fact that the politics of prohibition continue in the rest of that country.


What Mexico could do to alter its failed drug policy - with a view to sapping the economic power of the cartels, which translates into political power, corruption and the capacity to mount armed attacks - is to follow the steps taken in the United States, or to put it more clearly, some of its states that have decided to decriminalize marijuana. In the case of California, the fifth largest economy in the world that also forms the border with Mexico (particularly with Tijuana, one of the "failed cities" that have succumbed to the fallen government and anarchy that are products of the War on Drugs). 



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Therefore, the pragmatic approach would be to decriminalize marijuana (tackling the problem with the fewest possible human and social costs), but starting with a method no different from that followed by the United States. It would be easier and more feasible politically to adopt legislation similar to, for example, California’s, where it's legal to grow, sell and consume marijuana for medical purposes. To do this in Mexico for recreational purposes is less politically viable (very little, really).   



In California you can go to the doctor and ask for a prescription to buy legal marijuana in stores, if you suffer - or say you suffer - from headaches, loss of appetite or insomnia (since marijuana is used to relax the body, trigger hunger and make you drowsy). The patient must pay about $20 for the prescription, which he can take to a legal store to purchase a certain amount of marijuana, which is of better quality than that available on the black market.


Many consumers prefer to go through these procedures and additional costs in order to obtain a higher quality product and, therefore, less harmful to one's health. If all of Mexico were to adopt the Californian legislation (or some version like it that didn’t go any further), Washington would have no political argument to pressure us with, since our natural response would be, "And why is such legislation permitted in 13 of the American states?" It would not go one step further than in the United States, so as not to lead to consequent political pressure. In fact, the government of Barack Obama might be more sensitive to such a decision on the part of Mexico, given that this president used marijuana and cocaine in his youth, according as he has said.



The Mexican man's hat says 'Mexican Narco'

   [Excelsior, Mexico]


What would Mexico gain by this? The de-funding of much of the income of the Mexican cartels. Could the illegal trafficking to U.S. States that have not decriminalized weed to continue? In principal, yes, but it could just as well happen - and surely already does - between the states of the American Union. If such traffic doesn't create the same violence there that it does here, it will be because the government of that country has decided to follow a different strategy from ours (to fight demand more than supply). Instead of shouting ourselves hoarse over a war, the only result which has been to elevate violence and insecurity - and to escalate the number of victims, it would be far more worthwhile for it to follow the steps of the United States (themselves) in terms of decriminalization.



At least, alternatives to the current strategy should be seriously discussed in specialized seminars organized by the [Mexican] Congress. That would do more good than the mud that partisans are throwing over the failure of the Calderón strategy on this issue. Because if we do nothing effective on this, "the next president could be a Narco," as Calderón warned distinguished members of the PRI [the Partido Revolucionario Institucional, the main opposition party to the PAN of President Calderón], at a meeting held at Los Pinos. 






































[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US March 2, 10:25pm]