Archive for the ‘War on Drugs’ Category

Thanks to Mexico, our drug problem is solved

September 3, 2009

By David Farside

8/31/2009

A sure sign the war on drugs is failing came out of Mexico last week.

Stemming from the first Latin American conference on drug policy held in Buenos Aires this month and sponsored by the Pan-American Health Organization, the Mexican lawmakers have passed laws allowing the possession of small amounts of methamphetamine, LSD, cocaine, heroin and marijuana for personal use without penalties.

Citing the conclusion of conference members that “the war on drugs did not achieve its goal,” Mexico has joined other Latin American countries establishing a policy that distinguishes the difference between the individual user, dealers and traffickers. Mexican officials said that although the new laws do eliminate punishment and jail time for personal possession, they also establish tougher penalties for dealers and traffickers. The new law was necessary because drug use in Mexico increased more than 50 percent during the period between 2002 and 2008, filling the prisons with addicts, a good portion of which are under the age of 25.

Under the new Mexican laws, drug use and addiction will be treated as a public health problem rather than a criminal offense. They say their prisons are overcrowded with drug users leaving little room for dealers, traffickers and criminals who commit violent crimes.

The United States is now worried that because of the lenient drug possession laws, Mexico might become a tourism destination for American students on their spring breaks. Why should we be concerned? We have been trying get rid of the drug problem for years. Mexico might have just solved our problem.

Argentina decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana. Its Supreme Court ruled that penalties for possession were unconstitutional. They wrote “The constitution protected the private actions of individuals who in no way offend order or morality, or harm a third party, who answer to God free from a judge’s authority.” They also wrote their decision “protects the privacy of adults who are responsible for their own conduct.”

Last May, a Brazilian appeals court judge declared the possession of drugs for personal use is not a criminal offense. He said criminalizing drug possession for personal use violated the constitutional principles of harm, privacy and equality. If possessing alcohol is not a crime, neither is possessing drugs. One Brazilian lawmaker agreed with the decision, saying the current anti-drug laws of jail time for possession increased the harm to drug users because once they are in jail they get involved with organized crime.

In Columbia, where, partnered with Bolivia and Peru , most of the cocaine in the world is produced, small quantities of all drugs are legally permitted.

Peru has also joined its Latin American neighbors and decriminalized possession of all drugs for personal use. In Peru, Bolivia and Venezuela the sale of the cocaine leaf in any quantity has always been legal.

It seems our neighbors to the south have more constitutional respect for individual freedom, collective rights and personal choices than our own Congress and Supreme Court. As a Brazilian judge eloquently stated, “You cannot have state intervention, mainly repressive, in the realm of personal choice , especially when it comes to legislating morality.”

The conservative Republicans might want to consider holding that opinion. Maybe they should protect, rather than destroy, the privacy and rights of American adults who are responsible for their own conduct and who answer to their own personal God and not judges of Republican authority.

Constitutionally,we should never legislate conversion to the Christian or any other religion. But extreme right-wing conservative republicans want to legislate their biblical morals for all of us to obey.

They deny women the individual right of choice concerning abortions. And they’re opposed to personal use of drugs or any other decision of personal choice that angers the authority of their God. They should attract more converts to their pulpits and leave their agenda for state intervention out of the political arena.

With the new lenient drug laws in Mexico, the United States can save millions. We can eliminate the need for new prisons, a larger border patrol and more members of the Drug Enforcement Agency. Anyone caught possessing illegal drugs will be sent to Mexico. We can clear out all the drug offenders from our prisons and fly them across the border and legally bring back all the Hispanics who want to work and get their families away from the drugs. See, thanks to Mexico, our drug problem is solved.

Read more articles by David Farside at http://www.thefarsidechronicles.com

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