The border attorney also fears more young people will get into hard drugs and human trafficking unless the Mexican bill includes money for treatment
by: Julian Resendiz
Posted: Dec 24, 2020 / 3:00 p.m. PSTUpdated: December 24, 2020 / 3:00 p.m. PST
EL PASO, Texas (border report) – With no major changes to prevention and treatment, marijuana legalization in Mexico will result in more young people becoming addicted to drugs and joining criminal gangs.
So says a top attorney in the border state of Chihuahua, where addiction rates and drug-related homicides are on the rise.
“It will have a negative impact. It will bring us more addiction problems than we already have in Juarez. […] We believe the number of addicts in the country will double, ”said Deputy Attorney General Jorge Nava.
Mexico puts marijuana legalization on hold
The Mexican Senate approved a bill in November that legalizes possession of up to 28 grams of marijuana, grows up to six plants per year, and allows adults to use the drug in private homes. The Chamber of Deputies is expected to discuss and pass the law in February.
But Nava said the country lacks the medical infrastructure to treat those currently addicted to marijuana and other drugs.
“Studies have been carried out to determine the approximate number of addicts in Juarez. It’s an impressive number – more than 100,000. There are no places where these people can be treated, ”he said.
Nava also fears that marijuana use will encourage young people to try more harmful and addictive substances sold by violent drug gangs. These drugs include cocaine and crystal meth, which are widely used on the US-Mexico border.
“I believe it will be the gateway for more people – more than we already have – to get involved in addiction and crime circles at a very young age,” he said.
Juarez, across the border with El Paso, Texas, recorded 1,497 homicides last year, most of which were drug-related. To date, more than 1,610 people have been murdered in 2020. It was only this weekend that 15 people were shot or stabbed.
U.S. experts previously told Border Report it was too early to assess the impact of marijuana legalization on the crime rate in Mexico. Some say they expect a crime will decrease as legalization removes the need to look for seedy drug dealers.
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