Mexico decriminalized small amounts of marijuana, cocaine, and heroin, creating one of the world’s most permissive narcotics markets, reports the Wall Street Journal. It is a move opponents say could complicate President Felipe Calderón’s war against illegal drug cartels. The law goes beyond what is allowed in many other nations by making it legal to possess small amounts of a wide array of drugs. The new law allows the equivalent of about five joints of marijuana or four lines of cocaine.
Mexican prosecutors say the law will help the war on drug gangs by letting federal prosecutors focus their attention on traffickers rather than small-time users. Still, the move could anger some allies in Washington. Mexico tried to pass a similar law in 2005, but the Bush administration objected strongly, killing the initiative. This time around, the Obama administration has kept largely silent on the issue. U.S. drug czar Gil Kerlikowske said in July he would adopt a “wait-and-see attitude” about the new Mexican law, which was passed in April.