Friday

Mexico decriminalizes small amounts of drugs. WTF?


What incomprehensibly confusing message is Mexico trying to send with this latest insanity? The following headline appeared on MSN.com:

Mexico decriminalizes small amounts of drugs Move limits corrupt police force's ability to shake down casual users

The obvious problem is simply that if the police are corrupt changing the laws in this manner does nothing to address the corruption. It is about the same as saying that raping a child over the age of ten is no longer considered a crime to reduce the number of people labeled as pedophiles. This makes absolutely no sense, even for Mexico.

Either drugs are legal or they are illegal setting a higher threshold for possession violations is just encouraging an increase in sales. This doesn’t do much to discourage the crooked cops or the drug traffickers.

This is the article that accompanied the above headline:

MEXICO CITY - Mexico decriminalized small amounts of marijuana, cocaine and heroin on Friday — a move that prosecutors say makes sense even in the midst of the government's grueling battle against drug traffickers.

It makes no sense and sends incredibly mixed messages to those fighting drug traffickers and users alike.

Prosecutors said the new law sets clear limits that keep Mexico's corruption-prone police from shaking down casual users and offers addicts free treatment to keep growing domestic drug use in check.

If the police are corrupt changing the penalties for drug users is going to make the cops straighten up and fly right?

"This is not legalization, this is regulating the issue and giving citizens greater legal certainty," said Bernardo Espino del Castillo of the attorney general's office.
It is most certainly legalization, to call it otherwise is disingenuous at best and intentionally misleading at worse.

The new law sets maximum "personal use" amounts for drugs, also including LSD and methamphetamine. People detained with those quantities no longer face criminal prosecution.
That should certainly stem the flow of illegal drugs and discourage traffickers. It all makes perfect sense.

Espino del Castillo says, in practice, small users almost never did face charges anyway. Under the previous law, the possession of any amount of drugs was punishable by stiff jail sentences, but there was leeway for addicts caught with smaller amounts. "We couldn't charge somebody who was in possession of a dose of a drug, there was no way ... because the person would claim they were an addict," he said.

This is why there should be no differentiation between addicts and the rest of the population. It makes no sense to say that an addiction is an excuse for violating the law. It would be the same as giving a free pass to an alcoholic who just mowed over an innocent bystander. Hey I know you just killed that guy but you’re an alcoholic so it's not a crime. Now on the other hand if you were just a social drinker your ass would be in jail for 20 years.

Despite the provisions, police sometimes hauled in suspects and demanded bribes, threatening long jail sentences if people did not pay.

Now they will do the same thing for some other trumped up charge. This change will do absolutely nothing to stem police corruption.

"The bad thing was that it was left up to the discretion of the detective, and it could open the door to corruption or extortion," Espino del Castillo said. 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. 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. Mexico has emphasized the need to differentiate drug addicts and casual users from the violent traffickers whose turf battles have contributed to the deaths of more than 11,000 people since President Felipe Calderon took office in late 2006.

The reason traffickers are killing each other is for a piece of the lucrative drug sales market, a market that the Mexican government just made even more lucrative.

But one expert saw potential for conflict under the new law. Javier Oliva, a political scientist at Mexico's National Autonomous University, said the new law posed "a serious contradiction" for the Calderon administration. "If they decriminalize drugs it could lead the army, which has been given the task of combating this, to say 'What are we doing?'" he said.

If that is the only area for conflict this expert could find then he is as idiotic as the rest of the clowns running our southern neighbor.

Officials said the legal changes could help the government focus more on big-time traffickers. Espino del Castillo said since Calderon took office, there have been more than 15,000 police searches related to small-scale drug dealing or possession, with 95,000 people detained — but only 12 to 15 percent of whom were ever charged.

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