Fox News reports today that Mexico is one presidential signature away from legalizing cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, marijuana, and other narcotics for "personal use". The article goes on to quote presidential spokesman Ruben Aguilar as saying "the presidency congratulates the Congress for approving the reforms. This law gives police and prosecutors better legal tools to combat drug crimes that do so much damage to our youth and children." The article didn't elaborate on those "better legal tools", nor did it lay out a plan for how this will help Mexico's war on drugs.
I can see how this bill could fan the flames of the current border issues. And it will most certainly boost tourism for Mexico come Spring Break 2007. It may even breathe new life in MTV's Spring Break broadcasts. Maybe that new life will boost sales in commercial sponsors' products! Hey, maybe U.S. companies could make some decent money off of this deal without moving their businesses overseas... (insert dripping sarcasm here).
This ruling may have the effect of slowing the exodus from Mexico to the United States. Probably not. It may have the effect of people leaving the U.S. in favor of a more drug-lenient Mexico. Probably not. But while it raises issues as to what to do about the borders, it's most heated debates may come in the form of the rights of illegal aliens caught with small amounts of substances still considered illegal in this country. I predict that the argument will be posed that since they are Mexican citizens where these drugs are legal... that they deserve, nay, are entitled!, to amnesty in this country... well, you see where things may get really out of hand before this issue is resolved. I'm just betting that this becomes a have-my-cake-and-eat-it-too kind of argument. Dear reader, I have two words for you: Veruca Salt*.
As for United States citizens, I suspect that savy drug users will know the drug laws of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas inside and out before this bill goes into effect. I suspect that border guards will begin losing their minds. I suspect that this topic has only begun to ripple the waters of the media in America. And I suspect that U.S. supporters of legalizing marijuana and other drugs are about to get much louder.
*Veruca Salt, character from Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
** Other informative articles: Mexico to Decriminalize Pot, Cocaine and Heroin
Mexico's Fox to Sign Bill Legalizing Drugs