Guess I Don't Have to Go Now


Well, that was fast. As a couple commenters have pointed out, Mexican President Vicente Fox, whose office on Tuesday said he would sign a bill decriminalizing drug possession, yesterday backtracked, saying he will insist on changes "to make it absolutely clear [that] in our country, the possession of drugs and their consumption are, and will continue to be, a criminal offense."

Fox did not mention American objections, but they had to be uppermost in his mind. The day of his reversal, the U.S. Embassy said American officials "urged Mexican representatives to review the legislation urgently to avoid the perception that drug use would be tolerated in Mexico, and to prevent drug tourism." An embassy spokeswoman said Mexico should "ensure that all persons found in possession of any quantity of illegal drugs be prosecuted or be sent into mandatory drug treatment programs."

In other words, the U.S. insists that Mexico remain faithful to the American dogma that drug users belong either in prison or in treatment, even if they've never hurt anyone else and if getting arrested is the worst thing that has ever happened to them because of their drug use. Under the policy demanded by the American government, a kid caught with a joint must submit to "treatment," whether he needs it or not, if he wants to avoid jail. The refusal to see any distinction between use and abuse (let alone between self-regarding behavior and behavior that harms others) is especially striking in this case, since it looks as though the fix for the bill will be to limit it to bona fide addicts, as opposed to mere "consumers."