Can Legalizing Cocaine Make Mexico a Safer Place?

August 28, 2019

A court in Mexico City held that two unnamed individuals are allowed to carry and use cocaine legally as long as they do not sell or distribute it. This landmark decision may still be reviewed by a higher court, but this is the first time a court or any governmental body in Mexico ruled that cocaine is legal. This seemingly shocking ruling comes as no surprise to many Mexican citizens because of the horrors they’ve experienced over the past 13 years in the war on drugs. Some Mexicans, including government officials and members of the Mexico United Against Crime (MUCD) believe this is a step in the right direction to address the massive homicide surge in the past decade. This decision comes after another ruling in 2017 that legalized medical and scientific usage of marijuana – a decision that was met with widespread resistance from many Mexicans. Since this 2017 ruling, another Mexican official submitted a bill that would allow recreational use and create a medical marijuana industry – similar to that present in some states in the U.S.

The major concern with this new move towards ‘legal’ cocaine is that unlike marijuana, no legal markets for cocaine exist in Mexico’s northern neighbor’s economy. So although this decision may help marginally disrupt the war on drugs inside Mexico, it is highly unlikely to put a dent in the war on drugs at the borders as smuggling cocaine into the U.S. will still create the same problems as persisted before. Mexican officials have gone to great lengths to emphasize that this decision does NOT legalize cocaine in Mexico. The decision only legalized the use and carry for two specific individuals and further legal action is required before cocaine gets treated the same as marijuana. However, this momentous decision opens the door for Mexico to walk down this path. Legalizing cocaine in Mexico for recreational use would create bigger problems at the borders when it comes to smugglers and recreational users alike as they try to make it into the U.S. with cocaine that is legal in Mexico but outlawed in the U.S.

The far-reaching implications of this decision will play out over the coming years, but this trend will undoubtedly affect U.S. citizens located near our southern borders and the future path of the war on drugs.