Mexico's law decriminalizing small amounts of narcotics is having less effect on the streets than in debates north and south of the border, authorities say.
"It was a big yawn," said Kenn Morris, president of a San Diego market research firm that represents the Tijuana tourism bureau.
"Nothing has changed," agreed Alejandro Marin, assistant director of a drug treatment center in Nogales.
The law adopted by Mexican President Felipe Calderon Aug. 21 is designed to concentrate law enforcement efforts on Mexico's drug cartels blamed for approximately 13,000 deaths since December 2006, when Calderon declared war on drugs, The Arizona Republic reported Sunday.
The law limits 5 grams for marijuana (about three to six joints) and 500 milligrams of cocaine (roughly five doses, or "lines").
The law is supposed to take the heat off of small-time drug users who allegedly get the shake-down from corrupt Mexican federales looking for bribes, the newspaper said.
Drug hardliners in Washington and Mexico City worry the new law will drive narco-tourism, increase public consumption of drugs or lead to addiction.
But even advocates see Mexico's change as more of a setback than victory because some people buy drugs in quantities greater than allowed under the law, the Republic said.
"It's not clear yet whether this is three steps forward or two steps forward and three steps backward," said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance a coalition that favors decriminalization.
January 10, 2010
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Drug decriminalization in Mexico debated