Mexico: Reactions to Drug Decriminalization Law

In April, the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies in Mexico approved a retail law for drug selling [es], known as Ley de Narcomenudeo [es], that decriminalizes use of drug consumption in small dosages. According to Mexican newspaper El Universal, the law includes a comparative table to specify the maximum quantities that can be carried for personal use, among these, 5 grams of marijuana and 500 milligrams of cocaine.

The law was approved during the national alert of the AH1N1 virus, and it received notably lesser coverage compared of that of the flu. During the chamber session, more than 60 reforms of law were accepted without much debate in a move that several Mexican newspapers [es] call “a marathon vote” and “a race against time”.

Photo by splifr. Taken following a Creative Commons license from

Photo by splifr. Taken following a Creative Commons license from

Reactions are mixed, but certainly two things always came up in discussions: the situation of violence and murder in several Mexican cities related to the narco and drug trafficking, and also the haste approval. It can be said that an important part of the distribution of the story was “hand to hand” through social networks and re-publishing in independent media, but not properly from newspapers, which also carries some critique. Among the discussions, the difference between legalization and decriminalization was a frequent one, considering that the latter holds specific limits of use.

Twitter user Dx [es] comments on how the law approval was made “silently”:

ni nos dimos cuenta cuándo clavaron la ley de narcomenudeo, con eso de que solo se habla de #influenza

we didn’t notice when they nailed the drug retail law, considering that there’s only talk about #influenza

In the blog Seduciendo con Palabras [es] , Judith reflects about the other changes in Mexico's policies:

También aprobaron diversas reformas: una considera el tráfico de armas como tema de seguridad nacional —propuesta de Fernando Castro Trenti— y otra obliga a perseguir de oficio la piratería en programas de computación, videogramas, fonogramas o libros.

Nos chamaquearon

They also approved several reforms: one considers the gun trafficking as a national security manner -suggested by Fernando Castro Trenti— and another to prosecute piracy in computer software, videograms, phonograms, or books.

We've been fooled.

Blogger La Espantosísíma X (The Horrible X) understands [es] the approval of the law as a sign of the infiltration of drugtraffickers (narco) to the government, and compares them to the AH1N1 virus:

Tal vez no tenga nada que hacer y todo sea producto de que mis neuronas (gracias a Dios, completamente ajenas al consumo de cualquier estupefaciente estupidizante) padecen esa impopular tendencia a pensar, pero estoy segura de que en México durante los últimos días de abril se desató un foco de infección que aniquilará a gran parte de la población, y no es otro más que la evidente infiltración del narco poder en las huestes políticas y mediáticas nacionales.

Maybe I don't have anything to do and everything is a product of my neurons (thank God, free of use of any stupidifying drug) that suffer from that unpopular tendency to think, but I'm sure that in Mexico during the last days of April got loose an infection that will kill an important part of the population, and it is not other than the obvious infiltration of the power of narco to the media and political entourages.

User MarioMty comments in a blog post of Vivir México [es] that “legal” drugs (like tobacco and alcohol) have properly maximized their capacity to put health at risk:

Me sorprende que los noticiarios esten tomando esta importante noticia con apenas una mencion mínima, sin embargo me queda muy claro que es una forma de entrar al negocio de la droga de manera “legal”, a costa de nuestros jovenes, no les importa que condenen a las nuevas generaciones a una vida con drogas de fácil acceso, como pasa con el tabaco o el alcohol. En muy poco tiempo veremos cada vez mas cerca, a personas con serios problemas de salud, y a familias destruidas por este mal.

It surprises me that the news shows are taking this story with a minimum mention, however it is clear that it is a way to enter the drug business in a “legal” manner, taking advantage of young people, [news shows] don’t mind condemning new generations to a life of easy access to drugs, like what happens with tobacco and alcohol. In very short time, we will see people with serious health problems and families destroyed by this ailment.

In August, the law was enforced in Mexico. Changes in everyday living are hard to notice. MCF of Cabezas Underground [es] publishes the news and commented in a humorous manner:

Yo tengo que comentar, que en caso de que alguien en este país le importaran las pinches leyes, esto se me hace demasiado confuso, es legal portarla, pero no venderla, ¿y luego de donde la saco pues?…no me da buen espina.

I have to say that, in case someone in this country cares about the shitty laws, I think it’s too confusing, it is legal to carry [drugs], but not to sell, and then where do I get it from? I don’t have a good feeling about this.

The community of the blog Hazme el chingado favor! [es] are indifferent to the law: in a recent post, user JF calls for the legalization of drugs, provoking a thread of more than 100 comments, and without making any reference to Ley de Narcomenudeo. On the other hand, Twitter user AramBarra retakes [es] a recent story of the growth of drug selling from 2006 to 2008 to put in question the latest actions:

Narcomenudeo en df crece 700% < --ya cambiamos la estrategia?

Retail drug selling in Distrito Federal grows 700% < -- have we changed the strategy already?

Initially the drug retail law was presented 4 years ago by then president of Mexico Vicente Fox. It acknowledges the personal use of more than seven drugs, both organic and synthetic. According to Agency Narco News, the quantities specified are random, conceding multiple dosages to certain drugs and incomplete dosages to others.

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