Friday, May 05, 2006

Up in smoke...

A helpful reader points out that the Mexico drug laws don't appear to be going forward:

Fox backtracks, sends drug bill back
President Vicente Fox said he would ask Mexico's Congress to amend a drug decriminalization bill. The decision was praised by the White House, which had voiced serious concerns.
MEXICO CITY - (AP) -- U.S. officials welcomed Mexican President Vicente Fox's decision not to sign a drug decriminalization bill that some had warned could result in ''drug tourism'' in this country and increased availability of narcotics in American border communities.
Fox said Wednesday he was sending the bill back to Congress for changes, just one day after his office had said he would sign into law the measure, which would have dropped criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana, cocaine, heroin and other drugs.
The president will ask for corrections ``to make it absolutely clear in our country, the possession of drugs and their consumption are, and will continue to be, a criminal offense.''
The White House applauded Fox's decision. Presidential spokesman Scott McClellan said U.S. officials had expressed concerns about decriminalizing drugs. ''We welcome the steps that are being taken by President Fox,'' McClellan said Thursday.
San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, who had said he was ''appalled'' by the bill because it could increase drug availability north of the border, also said he was pleased by Fox's decision.
''I'm glad that he's listened to the many voices opposing the bill and made changes that will make good enforcement and not legalize drugs,'' Sanders said. ``We have been a partner with Mexico in fighting against illegal drugs, and this will only help in the long-term in that relationship.''
San Diego is a short drive from the border town of Tijuana, Mexico.
Presidential spokesman Rubén Aguilar said on Thursday that Fox had ''in no way'' yielded to U.S. pressure, but acknowledged that Mexico ``took into account the observations of U.S. authorities.''
Current Mexican law allows judges to drop charges if suspects can prove they are addicts and the quantity they were caught with is small enough to be considered ''for personal use,'' or if they are first-time offenders.
The new bill would have allowed ''consumers'' as well as addicts to have drugs, and delineated specific allowable quantities, which do not appear in the current law.
Under the law, consumers could have legally possessed up to 25 milligrams of heroin, 5 grams of marijuana (about one-fifth of an ounce, or about four joints), or 0.5 grams of cocaine -- the equivalent of about four ''lines,'' or half the standard street-sale quantity.

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