Honduras Columnist Calls for Legalizing Drugs

Otto Martin Wolf, columnist for the daily La Prensa in Tegucigalpa, capital of Honduras, wrote a column last week titled Should Drugs Be Legalized? (It's in Spanish but I'll translate some key passages here on The Narcosphere).

He recounts the story of alcohol prohibition in the United States and how it gave unprecedented power to organized gangsters:

"Liquor was only the first step. With the power they acquired they bought judges, police and politicians, elevating corruption to levels never seen before (does this scenario sound familiar?).

"The cure was worse than the disease and, in the end, after years of crime and violence, of extortion and bribery, the sale of liquor was finally legalized.

"Is the whole world now in a similar moment regarding drugs?

"It seems that all the efforts to deter the consumption of drugs are failing throughout the world. People's fascination with drugs has created a market that, no matter what is done, seems to increase. For a minor, it is easier to buy drugs than cigarettes or liquor because there is a prohibition on those products that is more or less respected, but drugs are sold everywhere without any control at all…"

Wolf continues:

"The recent discovery of more than a million dollars in the tires of a truck gives only a small example of how much money is behind it.

"That's why I ask myself: Has the moment arrived to legalize drugs?

"I'm not saying we should promote their use… What I am referring to is that for as long as the clandestinity permits the formation of so much capital, nothing will stop the narcotraffickers nor end the scary crimes that they are involved in…

"If there could be some regulations that legalize the production and consumption of drugs, of all of them, we would succeed - at least in part - in ending the international cartels, the crime, and the corruption linked to them.

"I believe it is imposible to eliminate the drug market, just as it could not be done with liquor. What doesn't seem so easy to me is to regulate the producers of drugs so that, at least, that side of the equation is under the control of the law.

"The pharmaceutical companies will produce drugs of better quality (less dangerous for the consumer) and will be better controlled. They will pay taxes. They will have to pay fines for abuses, in the same way as happens today with cigarette and liquor manufacturers.

"Is it horrible what I say?

"Is it not horrible what is already happening?"

The Central American country of Honduras has not, so far, been one of the lands where drug legalization or policy reform has enjoyed serious public discussion or legislation. Like many small nations, its dependence on U.S. aid and vulnerability to outside meddling brings a greater fear factor even in discussing this urgent public policy matter.

In general, Central America is far behind Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, Bolivia, Chile, Uruguay, and other lands where the debate is public and top political leaders openly speak of reform. Thus, Wolf's ice-breaking column is a welcome breath of fresh air.

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About Al Giordano

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Publisher, Narco News.

Reporting on the United States at The Field.