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Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Palabra Final > Business > Spotlight: Mexico decriminalizes small amounts of drugs

Spotlight: Mexico decriminalizes small amounts of drugs

LatinaLista — The Associated Press reports that Mexico has passed a new law that makes it legal for people to be in possession of small amounts of drugs: marijuana – 5 grams (about 4 joints); cocaine – 1/2 a gram (about 4 lines); heroin – 50 milligrams; methamphetamine – 40 milligrams and even LSD at 0.015 milligrams.

Under Mexican law, a person found with two joints of marijuana would not be arrested for possession.
However, the passage of this law is more to protect Mexican citizens than enable their drug use. Officials say that technically these amounts have always been tolerated by law enforcement but that it was up to the discretion of the police/detectives who busted those in possession as to whether or not to pursue the matter.
Of course, this “discretion” left the door wide open for corruption since many of the officers would impose bribes to keep the people out of jail.
However, the bottom line is that this legislation keeps people from having a criminal record for using drugs for their own personal use without intent to sell or distribute.
According to the FBI’s 2007 Crime in the United States (CIUS) report, arrests for drug abuse violations outnumber arrests for any other offense — 1,841,182 were arrested for drug abuse violations.
On further breakdown, the majority of these arrests were for the possession of marijuana (42.1%) and “Heroin or cocaine and their derivatives” (21.5%).
Arrests for sale/manufacturing of drugs was very low (5.3% for marijuana and 7.9% for Heroin or cocaine and their derivatives) compared to the arrests for possession. Unfortunately, amounts of possessed drugs are not included in the reports.
If they were, we would get a better idea how a “Just Say No” drug policy has criminalized too many Americans.
It wouldn’t be a bad idea to follow Mexico’s lead and save jail space for the real drug dealers/users.

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Comment(3)

  • Traci
    August 21, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    This isn’t just about people going to jail. One has to wonder just how many people don’t do drugs because of the existence of our drug laws. How many have been saved from drug abuse and dissipated lives? I want those who would purvey live changing narcotics to young children to pay, and if they go to jail for doing so, then so be it. Those who use drugs know full well the consequences aren’t worth of our pity. Sorry, Marisa, if you’re doing drugs, you risk going to jail.

  • Indiana Bob
    August 22, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    Traci,
    Are you in favor of making alcohol and gambling illegal? Those have also “dissapated lives”.
    Click on my name for an evaluation of the Portugese decriminalization.

  • Texano78704
    August 24, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    “This isn’t just about people going to jail.”
    Yes, it is.
    “One has to wonder just how many people don’t do drugs because of the existence of our drug laws.”
    Criminal usage of drugs is far less of deterrence against drug usage in the US than it is in countries where personal usage has been decriminalized.
    “How many have been saved from drug abuse and dissipated lives?”
    See my previous statement.
    “I want those who would purvey live changing narcotics to young children to pay, and if they go to jail for doing so, then so be it.”
    Me too, but this isn’t what we are talking about. We are talking about decriminalization of “recreational drug use.”
    “Those who use drugs know full well the consequences aren’t worth of our pity. Sorry, Marisa, if you’re doing drugs, you risk going to jail.”
    Because it has worked so well in the past? Drug users are not worth your pity, but they are certainly worth your tax dollars that go to pay for law enforcement, the judicial process, and incarceration. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Building more schools would cost less than building more prisons.

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