The LA Times ran a story Sunday about how Mexico is attempting to “quietly” decriminalize the use of drugs. As I mentioned before, all that is left for a bill decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of cocaine, marijuana, speed and other drugs to become law is President Calderon’s approval. Calderon proposed the bill in the first place. But, of course, fear-mongers are rearing their ugly heads.
The article quotes presumably educated, smart drug policy professionals who say they are worried that Mexico will become another Amsterdam and attract drug tourists. To top it off, some experts tell the writer that Mexico’s rehab centers are apparently ill-equipped to deal with the rise in addicts, even though the government is building over 300 new centers.
So what? Has anyone looked outside lately?
Reports about the after-effects of Portugal decriminalizing drugs are incredibly insightful. There was no drastic increase in crime or drug-loving tourists. And, remember, Mexico is not talking about legalizing the growing, manufacturing and selling of these substances, it is advocating the decriminalization of possessing small, personal amounts of drugs so that it can concentrate on big-time dealers instead of crowding prisons with addicts who need treatment.
Rehabilitation will be recommended but still not mandatory under the bill, but ideally it will be required, I assume, when the rehab system becomes more extensive. You simply can’t solve this “war on drugs” without dealing with the public health catastrophe it has created. The U.S., are you listening? Don’t kill this proposal like you did last time.