Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Mexico's Latest Drug Policy

I think it's fairly safe to say that the decisions the Mexican government makes often affect the United States. The reverse is, of course, true, too. I never really realized how symbiotic this relationship could be until I moved to SoCal. I say "could be" because I really don't think it's symbiotic at all. At least from my perspective, it's whatever the opposite of symbiotic is. Parasitic? Is that too harsh?

Tijuana, TJ, or, my favorite euphemism, "our neighbor to the south," has its fair share of problems, including poverty, violence, and drug cartels. And these problems definitely affect US relations. Likewise, attempts to resolve these problems affect the US.

My new favorite Mexican resolution plan? Decriminalizing drug possession for people carrying a small number of doses. Doses? I'll admit it, I'm rather naive when it comes to drug lingo, but I didn't realized illegal drugs had doses. Isn't that kind of like saying, "you're really not supposed to be doing this, but here's the amount that won't kill you, or turn you into a crazed maniac today." And doesn't "dose" sort of imply "not enough to turn you into an addict?"

So the idea is that the police/jails/courts now won't waste their time with people who are basically recreational users and can go after the people actually dealing and trafficking drugs. Portugal apparently has a similar law regarding cocaine; however in the Portuguese system, it only applies to residents--it is still illegal for foreigners to have any amount of the drug on their person. This caveat reduces the likelihood of Portugal becoming a destination for drug-based tourism.

The Mexican law, on the other hand, does not distinguish between residents and tourists. Does anyone else see where this might lead? Right. TJ is already a party destination for many Americans, specifically college-aged kids because the legal drinking age is 18. Now having drugs is legal, too? Does this sound like a train wreck waiting to happen to anyone else?

I'm not sure how publicized this new law is, and I'm not really certain that more college kids are going to head to TJ now than before (I mean, you're probably into that kind of partying or you're not, right?), but I do worry that this will increase, not decrease, the violence at the border, and I do worry that this will increase the amount of drug smuggling coming into the country. The problems this law may create will affect me. I just hope the people penning this policy have a better understanding of the repercussions than I do.

1 comment:

  1. I didn't realize we needed euphemisms for Mexico! Living in Egypt, we had all kinds of euphemisms for "our northern neighbor" - listening to grown ups talking about their trip to "Disneyland" is hilarious.