Though the media has made barely a peep about the issue, it looks like Mexico will legalize small amounts of drugs for personal use.
The Mexican Senate signed legislation last week that would make it legal to possess up to 5 grams of marijuana, 500 milligrams of cocaine and very small quantities of heroin and methamphetamines. The bill was also signed by Mexico’s lower house of deputies, and now needs just the signature of President Felipe Calderon to be passed into law.
Though a similar bill was vetoed by former Mexican President Vicente Fox after immense pressure from the Bush Administration, it is expected that Calderon will sign.
“It seems likely to me that he will,” writes Phillip Smith of StoptheDrugWar.org “The bill, after all, was pushed by his ruling PAN party, and unlike 2006, when a similar bill passed only to be vetoed by then President Fox in the face of US threats and bluster, there have been no threats and bluster from Washington this time. And, of course, the situation in Mexico is much worse than in 2006, thanks largely to Calderon’s war on the cartels.”
The bill is a huge step forward for the drug reform movement in the country, but is expected to have little effect on the violent drug cartel battles raging in Mexican border towns. Since the new law would effect only small amounts of drugs, it probably won’t have much of an effect on the activities of large-scale trafficking operations; only full-scale legalization and regulation will allow cartels to settle business disputes in the courtroom and not in the streets.