Drug Decriminalization Takes Effect in Mexico


Mexico's law decriminalizing possession of illegal drugs for personal use, which I noted a couple of months ago, took effect today. The quantity limits are pretty stingy: five grams (about a fifth of an ounce) for marijuana, half a gram for cocaine, 50 milligrams for heroin, and 40 milligrams for methamphetamine. According to A.P., the cutoff for LSD is 0.015 milligram, or 15 micrograms, far less than a typical dose of 100 to 150 micrograms.

From now on, drug users who are caught with less than those amounts cannot be prosecuted. Instead, they will be offered treatment the first couple of times, after which treatment will be mandatory. A spokesman for the Mexican attorney general's office tells A.P. drug users carrying such tiny amounts were almost never prosecuted anyway, but they were subject to shakedowns by the police. "The bad thing was that it was left up to the discretion of the detective," he says, "and it could open the door to corruption or extortion."