In an effort to reduce police corruption and free up resources for police to take down drug kingpins and traffickers, Mexico has decriminalized the possession of small amounts of illegal recreational drugs.
Juan Carlos Hidalgo, Latin-American project coordinator at the Cato Institute, said that the law does not mark a significant change in policy.
“The Mexican authorities were not [chasing] small-scale drug users before, so this law just legalises the status quo. But certainly it is a signal that Mexico is sending to the world that [going after] small-scale drug users is counter-productive,” he told Al Jazeera.
“As long as drug production remains illegal, we are going to see the drugs traffickers running a black market. I don’t see how the new measure will help calm down the drug violence in Mexico.”
However, the move may help Mexico’s addiction problem. Treatment will now be more accessible to addicts as it is in other countries that have decriminalized drug use, such as Portugal, where drug use declined. Decriminalizing possession will likely help reduce corruption within Mexico’s police who often bribe and extort those found with small amounts of drugs, and plant drugs as well.
Again, this will probably not have a big impact on drug cartels. The Mexican police and army cannot bring down the cartels. Unless drug use drops precipitously or drugs are legalized, the cartels will remain profitable. They already have helicopters and submarines. But that’s a rant for another time.