Marijuana Legalization in Two States Has Mexico, Costa Rica Questioning U.S. Role in Drug War

Categories: Marijuana
Calderon_v5.jpg
You got nothin
On Nov. 6, the country watched closely as voters legalized small amounts of marijuana for adults in Colorado and Washington. And now those votes are resonating south of the border.

This week, the president of Costa Rica said that increased demand for marijuana will impact Drug War-torn countries. And on Tuesday, Mexican President Felipe Calderón joined other leaders of Latin American countries to issue the strongest words yet.

The votes seriously reduce the United States' "moral authority" to wage the War on Drugs, according to Calderón, who began the military-style offensive against the drug cartels shortly after taking office.

See also: Mexican Study: Marijuana Legalization Would Hurt Cartels -- Badly

And while Calderón leaves office Dec. 1, this issue is far from done: His successor favors a discussion of legalization, and Calderón's colleagues say they'll pressure the United Nations to take up the issue of drug prohibition by 2015.

Calderón's six years in Mexico City were defined by the Drug War. Shortly after taking office in 2006, he reacted to drug trafficking in his home state of Michoacan by sending in the troops. To sum things up very briefly, the situation escalated, and six years later, nearly 40,000 people have died. Meanwhile, people in the United States, Mexico, and every other country on Earth still use drugs.

But recently, there has been different reactions. Leaders of Latin American countries called for Vice President Joe Biden to consider drug legalization prior to his visit to Mexico in May (no chance, Biden said). On television in September, Calderón stressed the capitalist nature of the Drug War -- without American demand, fewer Mexicans would die. 

After Calderón met Tuesday with the leaders of Honduras, Belize, and Costa Rica, he told Mexican media that having a federal American government spend time and money on shutting down marijuana dealers in states that allow marijuana use is a bit curious. Specifically, it "weakens [America's] moral authority" -- "resta autoridad moral," Calderón said.

At the very least, voter approval of legal marijuana means that drug policy needs to be fundamentally rethought, revisited, or otherwise changed. And while Calderón won't be able to get around to that by the time he leaves office next month, the future is bright -- at least for the possibility of continued dialogue on legalization.

Incoming president Enrique Peña Nieto has in the past said that Mexico should consider legalization. So there's that. Then again, his Institutional Revolutionary Party has also been accused of having close, corrupt relationships with drug cartels. So there's that, too.

In any case, the development to watch will be if the United Nations considers its Latin American members' pleas to convene a special meeting and consider the future of drug prohibition.
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8 comments
andrew75
andrew75

Luckily in Amsterdam you can also still buy cannabis is the cannabis cafe's. I read about the plans to change the laws on drugs. With the new law only locals would be able to enter the cannabis cafe's and purchase grass. The government has changed these plans and now it is still allowed to buy and smoke for any foreigner or local above 18 years of age. I read now that some Dutch cities even want to start growing their own cannabis. http://www.zamnesia.com/blog-dutch-city-wants-to-cultivate-own-cannabis-n32  This would be even smarter as now all the cultivating is being done by criminal organisations as growing cannabis is still no legal in the Netherlands.

jose257
jose257

Nieto wants it illegal and he's planning on threatening Obama to enforce federal law.  Obama has been emboldened after his re-election and should be telling Nieto where to go very soon.

Alejandro Durazo
Alejandro Durazo

"Millions of jobs"...you must be retarded, Mary. We are waging the US stupid little war in our country and we are paying your debt in fcking blood. Show a little fcking RESPECT.

Mary Littlelamb
Mary Littlelamb

America gIves millions of jobs and wellfare to Mexicans, so they owe us.

sdphoto35
sdphoto35

Well Amsterdam didn't even legalize it but it can openly be sold in coffee shops. That drastically lowered hard drug use due to the fact that people buying pot don't come into contact with hard drug dealers. It also lowered drug smuggling and increased the amount of taxes collected drastically without actually raising sale taxes on anything.

Ian Tilford
Ian Tilford

We wage war on everything. Maybe time to start waging peace

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