Samuel Bojorquez RioDoce Sunday, November 11, 2012
Translated by un vato for Borderland BeatDedicated to Ethan Nadelmann, for his tenacious struggle.
The legalization of marihuana in the United States is a relevant trend, to say the least, that is already having an impact in countries that, like Mexico, have serious problems derived from the business of drug trafficking.
Along with the presidential and congressional elections in the United States last Tuesday, (legalization) for recreational use (consumption for pleasure), gay marriages, funding abortions...
Colorado and Washington approved recreational consumption of marihuana-- Oregon opposed it-- and with that they join 15 other states that allow the consumption of Cannabis, although these others allow it for medicinal purposes.
It's a historical event in the United States that, little by little, advances against prohibitionist policies, in a global environment that is reporting an increase in criminal activities involving drug trafficking and in which high level opinions are coming together to propose debate, urgently, on the timing of legalizing the consumption of drugs like marihuana.
Two years ago, in November of 2010, the residents of California rejected this measure in the midst of loud debate that injected the theme into the national agenda, which the defenders of the so-called Proposition 19 noted at the time, despite the defeat they suffered.
After those debates, it was no longer a matter of "hippies and cops", and one must give thanks for American democracy that today its citizens are now putting matters as controversial and urgent as this on the table and are able to make decisions about them.
In Mexico, we are still in diapers, with the laudable exception of the nation's capital, where themes such as the decriminalization of marihuana consumption, abortion, gay marriage, euthanasia, were addressed and resolved, or are about to be resolved, in an environment that in substance resembles the great European democracies and that of the United States itself.
|Most citizens in Mexico are clueless to the 2009 "legalization". See footnote|
In April of last year, the Chamber of Deputies (Camara de Diputados) approved penal and (public) health reforms, intended to combat the sale of drugs at retail, in which the right of addicts to consume drugs is recognized, when and if drug possession does not exceed specified amounts. But it was not the intent of those reforms to decriminalize consumption, but, rather, to create a punitive framework against the sale of drugs at retail, which is different.
Resistance to the decriminalization of consumption continues to dominate the issue, which is only mentioned in marginal circles, but not in the great spheres of public power, even with the manifest failures of anti-drug policies, beginning with the more than 70,000 reported deaths that President Felipe Calderon's war against the drug cartels has left.
Does the decriminalization of marihuana consumption help in the fight against drug cartels? It is clear that it will not solve the problem, but it will represent progress while, viewed from a certain perspective, it will greatly decrease their income and, therefore, their operational capability. To decriminalize means, in itself, to regulate, normalize, and this would also include its production and commercialization.
But you cannot decriminalize the consumption of marihuana for recreational purposes if you penalize its sale. Somebody will have to sell it legally, and, therefore, somebody else will have to produce it within the law.
Those who defended Proposition 19 in California argued that legalization of marihuana would mean the loss of 60% of the income of the Mexican drug trafficking cartels. That is very difficult to measure unless one has access to the narcos' books, but it is evident that it will reduce their profits. Their war making capabilities would also have to diminish, and therefore their propensity for violence.
Today, they have a monopoly on the production, movement and sale. Including the sale at retail in the largest marketplace in the world; because the distribution networks are no longer "gringo only," but also Mexican, with operators directly linked with drug cartels here. The drug is grown in the mountains -- or in the valleys, with support of irrigation modules, as we saw in 2006--, it is transported using small aircraft, through tunnels, via highway or by sea to the United States and delivered to operators working with the same cartel in Arizona, Nevada, California or New York for distribution.
All this would turn into a crisis with the decriminalization of marihuana. And government should even look at this from an economic perspective. And get ahead of the times. The decision taken on Tuesday by the citizens of Washington and Colorado begins a new chapter in the debate over drugs, because it will no longer be authorized just for medicinal purposes, but for whoever wants to use it just for the pleasure of using it, just like they do today with a beer or a shot of whiskey.
-Video below was filmed in DF it features a man on the street interviews
of the US election, but primarily opinions of the MJ legalization in two states.-
Ball and chain
The trend in the world is towards decriminalization, and Mexico should have many more reasons to enter wholeheartedly into the debate. Two years ago, on the same day that the matter was being voted on in California, Calderon said that what was needed was a comprehensive global review on the regulatory framework regarding drugs. And he predicted that an eventual legalization would not stop the violence associated with organized crime, but would generate greater economic stimuli for criminal organizations. It looks like he now thinks differently, judging from what he has said recently, but in any case, his words should be taken seriously.
Against the flow
There are other countries that are already "putting on the huarache" (beginning to do something about this). Last June, the Uruguayan Defense Minister, Eleuterio Fernandez Huidobro, presented a legislative proposal to legalize marihuana as a measure to combat crime. According to the proposal, the government would have a monopoly over the distribution and sale of marihuana, which would only be sold to adults registered as consumers in a database.
Against the flow
That you're the boss in Sinaloa, Governor? Don't make us laugh: in Sinaloa the narcos have been in charge for decades.
Mexico passed legalization of drug possession- in certain quantities- for personal use.
The law passed in 2009 and sets out maximum “personal use” amounts for drugs, also including LSD and methamphetamine. People detained with those quantities no longer face criminal prosecution.
The maximum amount of marijuana for “personal use” under the new law is 5 grams — the equivalent of about four joints. The limit is a half gram for cocaine, the equivalent of about 4 “lines.” For other drugs, the limits are 50 milligrams of heroin, 40 milligrams for methamphetamine and 0.015 milligrams for LSD.
Anyone caught with drug amounts under the new personal-use limit will be encouraged to seek treatment, and for those caught a third time treatment is mandatory.