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The Debate on Drugs in Mexico is Revived

June 10, 2013
The Debate on Drugs in Mexico is Revived

The Organization of American States (OAS) presented a paper in Guatemala that has served to revive the debate on the legalization of drugs in the Americas. The report on the Drug Problem in the Americas presented by the General Secretary of the OAS, José Miguel Insulza, discusses the legalization of marijuana but does not recommend such. This proposal has been broadly discussed throughout the world, and it has made waves in Mexico, where former President Vicente Fox surprisingly appeared before the media to declare his support for the legalization of marijuana. With less vehemence, although with the same purpose, another former president, Ernesto Zedillo, declared his belief years ago through various international forums that the legalization of marijuana was a reasonable measure in the fight against organized crime. Officially, and on repeated occasions, the government of Mexico, previously through Felipe Calderón and now through Enrique Peña Nieto, has expressed outright opposition to such a measure. During their respective administrations, both Zedillo and Fox stood firm on their conviction against the legalization of marijuana. Nevertheless, Vicente Fox has presented new arguments supporting his current position: (i) circumstances have changed; the homicide rate at the end of his administration was nine homicides for every 100,000 residents, which grew to 24 homicides by the end of Calderón's administration. According to Fox, to a large extent, the drug business is the cause of the violence in Mexico; (ii) the so-called "War on Drugs" has failed as prices for drugs have increased and consumption has not decreased in the United State of America; and (iii) in the United States of America, support for the legalization of marijuana has increased, culminating recently in legalization in Washington and Colorado for recreational use. Furthermore, Fox argues that each person may do as they please as long as they do not affect the rights of third parties. The debate will continue in Mexico as in many other places, including the United States of America.

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