"The war on drugs" has failed, says Mexico's president.
The More on Drugs
Mexico's new president has a plan to decriminalize all drugs — and he's hopeful the U.S. will follow his lead.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador's recently released National Development Plan for 2019-2024 asserts that the international "war on drugs" has failed. In light of that, he believes it's time for Mexico and other nations to lift bans on illegal drugs. It's a bold plan that could signal a new era in drug legislation — or invite international ridicule.
Treat, Don't Punish
The new plan suggests redirecting any money currently spent on policing illegal drugs toward programs to help users get clean and rejoin society — a position that's already being lauded by many drug reform advocates, including Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno, the executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance.
"Mexico’s president is rightly identifying one of the major drivers of violence and corruption in his country: the prohibition of drugs," she told Newsweek. "The next step is to translate words into action, by pursuing both a domestic and international agenda of drug policy reform, grounded in respect for human rights."
Some of that reform is already happening north of the Mexican border.
States are legalizing cannabis — not just for medical purposes, but recreational ones as well — and just this week, Denver residents voted to decriminalize psilocybin, the trip-inducing compound found in "magic mushrooms."
Still, at the federal level, the U.S. still seems largely committed to prohibition — and it might take more than the words of a new Mexican president to change that.
READ MORE: MEXICO WANTS TO DECRIMINALIZE ALL DRUGS AND NEGOTIATE WITH THE U.S. TO DO THE SAME [Newsweek]