Herald Journal Columns
May 8, 2006, Herald Journal

Trade could solve problems


News flash: Mexico has conceded that we are losing the war on drugs.

Mexico’s congress approved a bill decriminalizing possession of small quantities of drugs including marijuana, ecstasy, cocaine, and heroin for personal use, according to the Associated Press.

The move, passed on a 53-26 vote, with one abstention, is intended to allow police to focus on large-scale drug trafficking, rather than minor drug busts.

The bill specifies quantity limits for a range of drugs, including 25 milligrams of heroin, 5 grams of marijuana, and 0.5 grams of cocaine.

Oscar Aguilar, Mexico City political analyst, said that President Vicente Fox is almost certain to sign the law – his office proposed it, and his party supports it, according to the AP story.

“We cannot continue to fill our jails with people who have addictions,” Senator Jorge Zermeno said.

US lawmakers are reportedly upset by the decision, on the grounds that it will hinder the war on drugs.

Others have suggested that the move may present an opportunity.

The most creative suggestion I have heard involves the implementation of a new international trade policy.

The idea is simple.

Mexico has removed penalties for drug possession for personal use.

There are many hard-working people in Mexico that would like to come to the US in pursuit of the American Dream.

Jails in the US are filled with people who have been convicted of drug offenses, costing US taxpayers about $30,000 per year, per inmate.

So, let’s trade.

On a one-to-one basis, we can swap convicted drug users for Mexican citizens who wish to come to this country, as long as they become US citizens, and promise to work hard and obey the law.

Everyone wins.

Instead of languishing in prison cells, the drug users will be free to enjoy their drug of choice in the warm and welcoming Mexican climate.

The new US residents will have the opportunity to work hard and succeed in their new country.

And, US taxpayers will no longer have the burden of paying huge amounts to keep recreational drug users in prison.

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