As game-changing as Brexit, but probably a lot more fun, Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has announced his proposal to decriminalize all illegal drugs.
In his administration’s five-year national development plan, Obrador showed that he is both pragmatic and damn ballsy, declaring that his country’s “prohibitionist strategy is unsustainable.”
“The ‘war on drugs’ has escalated the public health problem posed by currently banned substances to a public safety crisis,” the plan reads (thanks to Leafly for the translate).
Indeed, Mexico is experiencing at least two separate but related health crises due to the drug war: there are deaths due to drug consumption, such as overdoses, and then there are murders due to drug war violence. According to Time Magazine, homicides have been increasing at a rate as high as 33% per year, totalling more than 33,000 in 2018.
Both of these issues could be addressed, and maybe even resolved to some degree, by an end to drug prohibition.
“The only real possibility of reducing the levels of drug consumption is to lift the ban on those that are currently illegal,” the government’s policy reads, “and redirect the resources currently destined to combat their transfer and apply them in programs—massive, but personalized—of reinsertion and detoxification.”
Their plans are ambitious, but Mexico is looking to start relatively small by legalizing cannabis. In 2018 the Mexican Supreme Court ruled that cannabis prohibition was unconstitutional. Since then, Obrador and other lawmakers have put together a bill that would regulate legal weed, which is still going through legislation.
If it passes, and if they decriminalize all the other drugs, then Mexicans will have to decide which is worse: a costly drug war or dealing all day every day with sunburned American tourists who are high on ecstacy.
Photo via Flickr user Christian Frausto Bernal