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Tijuana could become mecca for drug users

A San Diego researcher says legalizing small amounts of drugs in Mexico could make Tijuana a mecca for drug users and increase rates of drug addiction and related crime in San Diego. University of San Diego's David Shirk studies the cross-border drug trade. KPBS reporter Amy Isackson has details.

Mexico's congress has approved a bill that exempts anyone who possesses small amounts of illegal drugs from prosecution. Previously, judges had the option to waive prosecution for people who had small quantities for personal use and could prove they were addicts. But Professor David Shirk says the new law would make the exemption standard. He says it could make Mexico like the Netherlands.

People see the Netherlands as a place that's safe for the use of drugs and so the objections of US officials that suddenly perhaps Tijuana and other border towns could become a magnet for small time drug users is something that's legitimated by actual experience elsewhere.

Mexican officials defend the bill. They say it will allow the authorities to focus on large scale drug operations. Amy Isackson, KPBS News.

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