Blogs > Liberty and Power > Drug Tourism and the A.P.

May 9, 2006 3:08 pm


Drug Tourism and the A.P.



One of the most consistent supporters of the war on people who use certain kinds of drugs has been the Associated Press (AP). A good example of this can be found in the recent AP story on Mexico's federal bill to codify the legalization of drugs for personal use by Alicia A, Caldwell. She opens her article with the following paragraph; "Police and business owners from Mexico's beaches to border cities say they are worried a measure passed by Mexico's Congress that decriminalizes possession of cocaine, heroin and other drugs could attract droves of tourists solely looking to get high."

While she does quote a policeman, she does not name or quote any businessmen. If Caldwell had found some worried entrepreneurs their apprehension would be a bit tardy since Americans have been going to Mexico in droves to seek all sorts of drugs both recreational and medicinal for decades. MTV Spring Break Cancun` will not show you all those fresh faced college students smoking marijuana but I feel confident in saying that is precisely what very many of them do there. And, in fact, Caldwell does undercut her own theme by quoting shoe shine person Elipio Rodriguez to the effect that drugs are already everywhere. He says, “There by the bridge (to the U.S.) anyone can do drugs. Police always patrol there, by those who are selling, and nothing ever happens. Do you think something will change now?”

Cross Posted on The Trebach Report

The only other non-government official heard from is 58-year-old waiter Raul Martinez who provides the obligatory what about the children? A former Pentagon anti-drug official and a U.S. Embassy spokeswoman have their say but no one from the drug reform movement or those involved in actually passing the legislation are allowed a voice in the AP’s world.

I would like to say positively that the transparent straw man of drug tourism will not have an effect on policy. I can not, however, because a communication from the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) has informed me that Mexico’s President Vicente Fox has so far declined to sign the law. The NORML website reports that U.S. officials, including one from the Drug Enforcement Agency, met with Mexican officials and among other things "urged them to clarify the law so it would not make it attractive to those who would go to Mexico to use drugs."

So it appears that this manufactured fear of drug tourism is having an effect, but why? If someone visits a place because of the availability of drugs they will still spend money on all the other things, transportation, entertainment, food, gifts, that other tourists do, there will simply be more people spending money. No one solely uses drugs.

As for increased violence that is not a problem because legality would eliminate the need for black market mayhem. Drug use per se causes an infinitesimal amount of the violence the prohibitionist like so much to talk about. The drug alcohol is by far the most associated with pharmacological aggression, yet it also legal in most places and highly celebrated in others. In successful attempts to reduce the violence connected with important soccer matches both the Portuguese and Dutch police instituted a policy of tolerating marijuana smoking. Also, ask Dutch police where they would rather go on a call, a bar serving alcohol or a cafe` serving marijuana and they will say the cafe` because it is much less dangerous.

There are millions of middle aged relatively wealthy adults, who quit smoking marijuana years ago, who would love to go somewhere to safely get high, recapturing some of their youth, and then return home to resume their normal lives. A city that realized the potential and put a Dutch cafe` policy in place would reap enormous economic benefits for its citizens. At the present time no location in the U.S. is experiencing such a needed windfall, one more cost of the war on people who use certain kinds of drugs.


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