Mexico gov’t decriminalizes personal drug possession

marijuana plantThe headline says it all, basically – with very little fanfare or ceremony, the government of Mexico has voted to formally decriminalize small-scale possession of controlled drugs and intoxicants.

The law sets out maximum “personal use” amounts for drugs, also including LSD and methamphetamine. People detained with those quantities will no longer face criminal prosecution when the law goes into effect Friday.

Anyone caught with drug amounts under the personal-use limit will be encouraged to seek treatment, and for those caught a third time treatment is mandatory — although the law does not specify penalties for noncompliance.


Mexico has emphasized the need to differentiate drug addicts and casual users from the violent traffickers whose turf battles have contributed to the deaths of more than 11,000 people during Calderon’s term. In the face of growing domestic drug use, Mexico has increased its focus on prevention and drug treatment.

This is a controversial development for many reasons, especially following in the wake of the suggestion that a harsh economic landscape is linked to the loosening of prohibition laws. It will be interesting to see what effect it has on the crime rate in Mexico, not to mention how it’s larger richer neighbour to the North will react. [via SlashDot; image by Eric Caballero]

One thing is pretty certain, though: the border guards at Tijuana will need to draft in extra recruits for the next Spring Break season.

One thought on “Mexico gov’t decriminalizes personal drug possession”

  1. Way to go. I’m from the Netherlands so am already somehwat familiar with the type of climate this encourages and am happy to see more countries falling inline. Also did you know about the “Protugal Experiment”?

    On July 1, 2001, a nationwide law in Portugal took effect that decriminalized all drugs, including cocaine and heroin. Under the new legal framework, all drugs were “decriminalized,” not “legalized.” Thus, drug possession for personal use and drug usage itself are still legally prohibited, but violations of those prohibitions are deemed to be exclusively administrative violations and are removed completely from the criminal realm…. The data show that, judged by virtually every metric, the Portuguese decriminalization framework has been a resounding success. Within this success lie self-evident lessons that should guide drug policy debates around the world.


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