An end to petty drug busts in Mexico

As American politicians whip up a frenzy of fear and bigotry over immigration from Mexico, our neighbors to the south have found the courage to decriminalize the possession drugs.

Late Thursday Mexico's Senate approved a measure that would make it legal for folks to carry small amounts of marijuana, cocaine or heroin for personal use.

"This law provides more judicial tools for authorities to fight crime," presidential spokesman Ruben Aguilar said on Friday.

The measure was approved earlier by the lower house.

The new law would allow people to carry five grams of marijuana or opium, 25 milligrams of heroin or 500 milligrams of cocaine.

Those caught carrying larger quantities would be treated as dealers and would face far stiffer penalties under the law.

The possession of LSD, hallucinogenic mushrooms, amphetamines and peyote would all be legal as well.

Just last week delegates from the U.S. House of Representatives visited Mexico to meet with senior officials to discuss drug trafficking issue. There was no mention of the pending legislation according to Michelle Gress, a member of the delegation.

"We were not informed," she told Reuters.

Sen. Jorge Zermeno of the ruling National Action Party sees this is the end of supply-side criminalization.

The object of this law is to not put consumers in jail, but rather those who sell and poison," said Zermeno.

The Senate passed the law by a better than 2-yo-1 margin, Fifty-three senators for the bill, 26 votes against.

President Vicente Fox is expected to sign the bill soon.

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