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September 2009
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Good Reading

… around the internet

bullet image In the New York Times’ Room for Debate: What Does Mexico’s New Drug Law Portend?, featuring comments from:

  • Tony Payan

    …decriminalizing drug possession is in and of itself a change of, paradoxically, gigantic and modest proportions. […] In the end the United States may be left alone to fight a 40-year-old failed “war on drugs” or join the rest and craft a more nuanced strategy to consider other possibilities in dealing with psychotropic substances. Perhaps this time change will come from South to North, instead of North to South.

  • Jorge Castañeda

    If anything, the new law criminalizes drug use much more radically than before […] Mexico should move toward decriminalization, but it cannot do so if the United States does not. Among the many reasons is the so-called Zurich effect…

  • Calvina Fay (!)

    Mexico’s President Calderon got it wrong on decriminalizing drugs. I fear for the future of Mexico and the domino effect here at home. […] Drug users are not innocent. They support the vicious drug cartels.

  • Peter Reuter

    Evidence from other countries suggests that decriminalization could be modestly helpful in addressing Mexico’s recent difficulties. […] Unfortunately, decriminalization will not address Mexico’s most severe drug-related crime and violence.

  • Ethan Nadelmann

    Such reforms generally do not result in higher rates of drug use — at least that’s the evidence from other countries. And it will have no impact on President Calderon’s battle with the major drug trafficking organizations.

bullet imageMexico’s Hopeless Drug War by Mary Anastasia O’Grady in the Wall Street Journal.

Mexico’s big problem—for that matter the most pressing security issue throughout the hemisphere—is organized crime’s growth and expanded power, fed by drug profits. Mr. Calderón’s new policy is unlikely to solve anything in that department.

The reason is simple: Prohibition and demand make otherwise worthless weeds valuable. Where they really get valuable is in crossing the U.S. border. If U.S. demand is robust, then producers, traffickers and retailers get rich by satisfying it.

Mary is the drug war voice of reason over at the Wall Street Journal. You can tell from her various articles that she understands the equation and is able to connect the dots. She just doesn’t go all the way and tell you the obvious solution, because, after all, it is the Wall Street Journal opinion section.

bullet image The case for legalising all drugs is unanswerable by John Gray in the Guardian.

…the fact is that the costs of drug prohibition now far outweigh any possible benefits the policy may bring. It is time for a radical shift in policy. Full-scale legalisation, with the state intervening chiefly to regulate quality and provide education on the risks of drug use and care for those who have problems with the drugs they use, should now shape the agenda of drug law reform.

Unanswerable, indeed.

bullet image Some Potent Arguments For Legalizing Marijuana by Robert McCartney, Washington Post.

When it comes to marijuana, American society has lost the war on drugs–and that’s okay. We should stop squandering time and money trying to reverse history and instead legalize both medical and recreational use of this mild narcotic widely seen as no more harmful than alcohol.

bullet image Mexican movie star Gael García Bernal calls for legalization

The Motorcycle Diaries star is adamant the majority of street battles in the North American country are sparked by the trade in illicit narcotics.

And he insists the quickest way to end the bloodshed is to legalise drugs and take the entire industry out of the hands of criminal gangs.
He tells the New York Daily News, “Drugs are illegal – therefore, there’s a fight. I hope drugs become legalised in Mexico. If drugs were legal, there would be nothing to fight about.”

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10 comments to Good Reading

  • paul

    Calvina Fay made a few mistakes in her comments. I fix them here:

    She said, “Drug users are not innocent. They support the vicious drug cartels. Without their demand for drugs, the supply side has no purpose. Since terrorists depend on the drug market to fund their activities, users are potentially aiding terrorism. Because drug traffickers are frequently linked with weapons and human trafficking, users are also supporting these activities.”

    In fact, it should read,”Prohibitionists are not innocent. They support the vicious drug cartels. Without their repressive laws, the supply side has no customers. Since terrorists depend on the drug market to fund their activities, prohibitionists are potentially aiding terrorism. Because drug traffickers are frequently linked with weapons and human trafficking, prohibitionists are also supporting these activities.”

    There!

  • kaptinemo

    Calvina et al can rant all they want; the fact is, the taxpayer can’t afford the DrugWar, anymore. In truth, the taxpayer never could, for most government operations were in fact paid for through loans from foreign governments and banks; the amount collected in taxes only go to paying the interest on the loans those banks granted Uncle Sam, not paying off the principal on them.

    Which means that when the foreign banks and governments pull the plug, which they are doing, then a great many government operations will have to be suspended. And the most useless and costly ones will have their necks stretched over the budgetary chopping block first (significant look in the ONDCP’s and the DEA’s direction).

    Now, if Calvina and her ilk want to pay for the DrugWar all by themselves, they are more than welcome to. Please, feel free to run your own finances into the ground. But I need what little money I have, and I daresay that sentiment is echoed in a hundred million households by now. Especially in those households where the inhabitants are looking at pink slips. And they are more concerned with basic survival and how they are going to make ends meet than be concerned about DrugWarrior budgets.

  • Duncan

    Ms. Fay is correct, if only we could stop people from getting high everyone would be sober. We could also effectively manage global warming by manipulating the distance of the Earth from the sun, or perhaps by adjusting the planet’s tilt. It’ll take a lot of work, but we could then burn fossil fuels to our hearts content.

  • ezrydn

    I live down here. I’ve been searching high and low for a copy of the new law, even in Spanish, but it’s nowhere to be found (published). I even asked my wife, “How can you comply with a law if the government won’t share the wording in the law with you?” She didn’t have an answer. I’ve got a cop friend who’s a Law student here and he can’t find a copy of it for me.

    So, from what “fact-” based document are these people spouting???? I’m still looking for it and if I can find it, I’ll get it translated and posted. This needs to see the light of day and not remain hidden. I’ve got a call into the local University Law Library. Hopefully, they’ll be some help.

  • paul

    Ah, Kaptinemo, the danger here is that the most useless and costly ones will NOT have their necks chopped first. We’re talking about the government after all, and as you know, if a program is not working that is the best reason to keep on doing it.

    Forgive my uncharacteristic pessimism for a night. I’ve drunk too much beer, (which is legal, I might add) and cynicism comes easy. Tomorrow after I’ve had my coffee, I’ll sober up and probably agree with you. It is starting to look like the federal government is running out of other people’s money to spend.

    And that’s when the steel cage death match begins, live from Washington D.C.! Anyone got tickets?

  • Steve

    > I’ve been searching high and low…

    It’s a maze!

    Drug War Chronicle points to page 83 of this PDF from the Diario Oficial.

    Link

    From the ellipses in the document above I don’t know if it’s final or complete, but there are also ellipses in what looks like the document of interest at the Diario Oficial site.

    Link

    Here’s the search I used:

    Link

    OK, now let’s see if all of this makes it into my comment. The preview feature isn’t working as I’d expect.

  • Steve

    No, it didn’t all make it in. Maybe it’s a Google Chrome browser thing. Here’s the document of interest, I think:

    Link

  • Steve, I went ahead and converted all your long urls to html links. Comments here accept basic html, including the a href tag for links, and html links are much more reliable (especially when they have a lot of strange characters), plus they’re less likely to break certain parts of the site (and will make your preview look better). More info at the About page.

  • Steve

    Thanks Pete, that’s what I was trying to do but they were not showing up in the preview.

    Next time I comment I’ll use Firefox in case it’s a Chrome thing.

  • ezrydn

    Question: When the canvaser comes to your door with a questionaie, do you A) answer all his questions to the est of your ability, B) Shut the door in his face or C) provide him with the iformation you want him to have, not necessarrily the truth.