Wednesday, August 26, 2009
A shift can be seen in mindsets around the world regarding illegal drugs! As the world nears the end of the first decade of our new millennium, poverty stricken and facing a drug pandemic, a lot of changes in policy and in the way people look at things are happening. California and Mexico are testing grounds for revolutionary ideas regarding drugs, both republics want change despite the fact that it may fail and come back to hurt them in the end. California is on the brink of legalizing Marijuana and Mexico just legalized small amounts of essentially any drug for personal use. It seems as if these two Republics are willing to try anything to counter their ongoing struggles, i.e. California's budget crisis and Mexico's drug war. I neither condemn nor condone their attempts at trying revolutionary tactics in order to enact change. Something had to give, old ideas and mentalities are not cutting it, and so drastic measures appear to be in order.
All of this change may appear to be surrender on Mexico's part and a form of cynicism on California's, which may be the case; however, there may be room for success with regards to legalization issues and these changes could possibly do more good than harm. It has been clear for a very long time that prison does very little, if any, to help the addict and if anything it only slows the addict's progression but does nothing to curb the disease. Without proper education by way of drug treatment people who have had drug convictions stand very little chance of not returning to the drugs upon release. In Mexico, under previous laws, possession could lead to long jail terms. Mexico now views drug abuse as a "social and public-health problem rather than a law-enforcement issue", which will open up space in prisons and leave available resources to pursue the drug cartels - according to Mexican officials. According to government statistics, the number of addicts in Mexico has risen by more than 50 percent in six years; Mexico who has supplied the United States with drugs for a long time is just now seeing their own domestic drug problem and treatment seems to be more effective than prison.
In the California arena the problem crisis at hand has more to do with the budget and Assemblyman Tom Ammiano proposes full legalization of marijuana with regulation and taxation. A proposed tax of $50 per ounce is estimated to raise $1.3 billion annually. "According to one poll, 56 percent of California voters support such a plan. There also are three initiative efforts in California to put marijuana-legalization measures before voters in November 2010.", reports the Arizona Republic. People will smoke marijuana regardless of the fact that it is illegal, that being said, perhaps the argument for legalization is sound.
It is impossible to predict the direction all this new legislation will take us. Certainly, both Mexico and California are sailing into uncharted waters with failure lurking on the horizon. Drastic times call for drastic measures, time will tell if this shift in policy will be the lesser of two evils. Mexico needs to lower the murder rate and California needs to boost the economy, it will be interesting to see the results of their efforts. A lot of questions and very few answers at this point!