FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Mexico Considers Legalizing Drugs

The question of whether legalizing drugs would help reduce the killings in Mexico has made front page news this week and is causing unprecedented debate around the world.

Last week, former Mexican President Vicente Fox called on his country “to legalize the production, distribution and sale of drugs” as the best way to weaken the drug cartels.

Acknowledging that “radical prohibition strategies have never worked,” Fox’s recommendation echoes another former president of Mexico, Ernesto Zedillo, as well as past presidents of Colombia and Brazil, who last year issued a ringing condemnation of the failed war on drugs, in favor of alternatives that include the removal of legal penalties for marijuana possession.

This latest endorsement of legalization also comes on the heels of current Mexican President Felipe Calderon’s own announcement that, while he opposes legalization, he nevertheless supports an open debate about ending prohibition — the root cause of the violence in Mexico that has now claimed over 28,000 lives.

Sadly, however, legalization is not even part of the policy dialogue in D.C. In fact, the U.S. drug czar has repeatedly said it’s not even part of his or President Obama’s “vocabulary.”

Yet despite Washington’s reticence to engage the topic, the debate about legalization is taking place in many communities throughout the U.S. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, like Calderon, has called for a debate about marijuana legalization, a proposal that Californians will vote on in November. In 2009, the City Council of El Paso, Texas — directly across the border from Ciudad Juarez, the world’s deadliest city and ground zero in Mexico’s drug war — passed a resolution “supporting an honest, open national debate on ending the prohibition on narcotics.”

President Calderon’s openness to debating legalization comes amid new recognition that the cartels are not just killing each other, or members of the government, or innocent civilians – they are openly challenging the Mexican state and eroding its democratic institutions.

Signs of this bleak reality abound in news reports from Mexico: whole portions of the country where the cartels’ influence exceeds the government’s; the silencing (through intimidation, kidnapping and murder) of national and international journalists; the assassination or bribery of local, state and national politicians or law enforcement officers; a broken criminal justice system that allows the cartels to operate with impunity; and the widespread violation of civil and human rights by the army, sent into the streets to fight the cartels since 2006. These are not the conditions of a stable democracy — or a successful counternarcotics strategy.

It is heartening that Calderon, the Mexican congress and members of civil society have begun a serious discussion about changing course and pursuing legalization — and not just of marijuana, but of all drugs.

Unfortunately, as the AP writes, “Just about everyone agrees Mexico probably can’t or won’t legalize on its own.” In other words, they need our help. But in stark contrast to the open discussion going on to the south, the topic remains taboo in the U.S.

It’s time for the Obama Administration to follow the lead of Mexico — and its own citizens — and consider real alternatives to its failed drug war policies. It is our moral imperative to join Mexico in this important debate.

DANIEL ROBELO is a research associate at the Drug Policy Alliance’s legal office in Berkeley, California.

 

WORDS THAT STICK
?

 

More articles by:

February 18, 2019
Paul Street
31 Actual National Emergencies
Robert Fisk
What Happened to the Remains of Khashoggi’s Predecessor?
David Mattson
When Grizzly Bears Go Bad: Constructions of Victimhood and Blame
Julian Vigo
USMCA’s Outsourcing of Free Speech to Big Tech
George Wuerthner
How the BLM Serves the West’s Welfare Ranchers
Christopher Fons
The Crimes of Elliot Abrams
Thomas Knapp
The First Rule of AIPAC Is: You Do Not Talk about AIPAC
Mitchel Cohen
A Tale of Two Citations: Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” and Michael Harrington’s “The Other America”
Jake Johnston
Haiti and the Collapse of a Political and Economic System
Dave Lindorff
It’s Not Just Trump and the Republicans
Laura Flanders
An End to Amazon’s Two-Bit Romance. No Low-Rent Rendezvous.
Patrick Walker
Venezuelan Coup Democrats Vomit on Green New Deal
Natalie Dowzicky
The Millennial Generation Will Tear Down Trump’s Wall
Nick Licata
Of Stress and Inequality
Joseph G. Ramsey
Waking Up on President’s Day During the Reign of Donald Trump
Elliot Sperber
Greater Than Food
Weekend Edition
February 15, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Matthew Hoh
Time for Peace in Afghanistan and an End to the Lies
Chris Floyd
Pence and the Benjamins: An Eternity of Anti-Semitism
Rob Urie
The Green New Deal, Capitalism and the State
Jim Kavanagh
The Siege of Venezuela and the Travails of Empire
Paul Street
Someone Needs to Teach These As$#oles a Lesson
Andrew Levine
World Historical Donald: Unwitting and Unwilling Author of The Green New Deal
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Third Rail-Roaded
Eric Draitser
Impacts of Exploding US Oil Production on Climate and Foreign Policy
Ron Jacobs
Maduro, Guaidó and American Exceptionalism
John Laforge
Nuclear Power Can’t Survive, Much Less Slow Climate Disruption
Joyce Nelson
Venezuela & The Mighty Wurlitzer
Jonathan Cook
In Hebron, Israel Removes the Last Restraint on Its Settlers’ Reign of Terror
Ramzy Baroud
Enough Western Meddling and Interventions: Let the Venezuelan People Decide
Robert Fantina
Congress, Israel and the Politics of “Righteous Indignation”
Dave Lindorff
Using Students, Teachers, Journalists and other Professionals as Spies Puts Everyone in Jeopardy
Kathy Kelly
What it Really Takes to Secure Peace in Afghanistan
Brian Cloughley
In Libya, “We Came, We Saw, He Died.” Now, Maduro?
Nicky Reid
The Councils Before Maduro!
Gary Leupp
“It’s All About the Benjamins, Baby”
Jon Rynn
What a Green New Deal Should Look Like: Filling in the Details
David Swanson
Will the U.S. Senate Let the People of Yemen Live?
Dana E. Abizaid
On Candace Owens’s Praise of Hitler
Raouf Halaby
‘Tiz Kosher for Elected Jewish U.S. Officials to Malign
Rev. William Alberts
Trump’s Deceitful God-Talk at the Annual National Prayer Breakfast
W. T. Whitney
Caribbean Crosswinds: Revolutionary Turmoil and Social Change 
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
Avoiding Authoritarian Socialism
Howard Lisnoff
Anti-Semitism, Racism, and Anti-immigrant Hate
Ralph Nader
The Realized Temptations of NPR and PBS
Cindy Garcia
Trump Pledged to Protect Families, Then He Deported My Husband
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail