Mexico legalises possession of drugs for personal use

Mexico has legalized the possession of small quantities of drugs. The change in the law that took place on Thursday (20/08/09) is designed to allow more resources to be assigned to fight the drug-war as well taking a different approach to combating drug addiction. In the last 6 years the number of people addicted to drugs has increased by 51%. The new law states that if an individual has been caught with drugs three times consecutively he will be forced to attend a rehabilitation centre.

The new law states that individuals will not be penalized for carrying up to 2 grams of opium, 50mg of heroin, 5g of marijuana, 50mg of cocaine, 50mg of methamphetamine and 0.015 of LSD. If in individual is in possession of a higher quantity than this is considered street level drug dealing. Anything higher than 1000 times the limit for personal possession, in the case of marijuana 5kg will be considered drug trafficking and carries a much harsher sentence.
In 2006 the Mexican government introduced a similar law however when the US expressed concerns that Mexico would become a destination for drug tourism the law was recessed. The US drug czar Gil Kerlikowske said he would adopt a "wait-and-see attitude" while the US state department yesterday advised its citizens not to travel to Michoacán. The President’s home state has seen a dramatic increase in violence as security forces battle against a notorious drug cartel known as “The Family”. Last month when one of the cartels leaders was arrested they retaliated by torturing and assassinating 18 police officers as well as 2 soldiers.

This new legislation represents a much more liberal approach to drug policy and the government has stated that it wants to concentrate on developing better infrastructure for the treatment of addiction. The law also states that individuals will not be prosecuted for any quantity of drug if it used for religious or spiritual reasons recognised by the authorities, this would apply to magic mushrooms and peyote.