Mexican lawmakers opened a debate this week on the legalization of marijuana as part of a possible strategy to tackle the country’s powerful drug cartels. Javier González Garza, leader of the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) bloc in Congress, has come out in support of the proposed legalization measure, and said cannabis must be considered apart from drugs such as cocaine and heroin.
Mexico’s Congress three years ago passed a bill decriminalizing possession of small amounts of drugs but, following pressure from the US, then-President Vicente Fox vetoed the legislation. President Felipe Calderón’s government has signaled that it wants to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of drugs. (AFP, April 15; El Economista, April 13)
In Washington, the Drug Enforcement Administration reacted harshly to the proposal. “It would be a failed startegy…as much for the United States as Mexico,” said DEA administrator Michelle Leonhart to Mexico’s La Jornada. DEA intelligence chief Anthony Placido added: “The legalization of drugs in Mexico, as anywhere else, will lead to more misery, with addiction and organized crime moving to other areas.” (Quotes translated back into English from Spanish.) (La Jornada, April 15)
See our last post on Mexico’s narco wars.