Friday, November 09, 2012

An Emergent Trend on the War on Drugs? Mexico Considers Legalization

The recent electoral victory to legalize drugs in parts of the US may have set the trend towards the decline to the war on drugs worldwide.

The decision by voters in Colorado and Washington state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana has left Mexican President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto and his team scrambling to reformulate their anti-drug strategies in light of what one senior aide said was a referendum that “changes the rules of the game.”

It is too early to know what Mexico’s response to the successful ballot measures will be, but a top aide said Peña Nieto and members of his incoming administration will discuss the issue with President Obama and congressional leaders in Washington this month. The legalization votes, however, are expected to spark a broad debate in Mexico about the direction and costs of the U.S.-backed drug war here.

Mexico spends billions of dollars each year confronting violent trafficking organizations that threaten the security of the country but whose main market is the United States, the largest consumer of drugs in the world.
Prohibition laws against all forms of vices (i.e. drugs, gambling, prostitution, smoking, drinking et. al.), have not just been immoral and  counterproductive, but also ineffective, impractical and repressive.

Sin taxes are another form of prohibition which has exhibited similar results.

Such ‘feel good’ noble sounding regulations signifies as the proverbial cure that is worse than the disease, where in reality, the populist moral crusade through mandated organized coercion (badges and guns or the government) usually serves as masquerade for politicians and the bureaucracy to expand power (at the expense of civil liberties) and access to the public’s purses e.g. “spends billions of dollars”.

The drug menace should be approached with the reinforcement of the individual’s moral fiber through solidification of familial and communal ties, through education and through therapy or rehabilitation, out of the ambit of taxpayers and the use of force.

If in case Mexico decides to follow the footsteps of Colorado and Washington to legalize drugs, which should also mean a wider tolerance on more states in the US, then this could possibly translate to a ripple effect worldwide.

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