Mexico City.– The Mexican government denied Thursday that President Vicente Fox's veto of legislation that would have permitted the possession of drugs for personal consumption was the result of U.S. pressure.
The government decided to veto the legislation "in response to the recommendations" of several agencies, medical groups, family organizations and "some entities in the United States," presidential spokesman Ruben Aguilar said.
"But there was no 'pressure' from the United States," Aguilar said in response to a question about whether the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration had expressed its "uneasiness" to Mexico over the proposed decriminalization.
The New York Times reported Thursday that the Fox veto came "after intense pressure from the United States," saying U.S.
anti-drug officials had complained that moves toward decriminalization could promote "drug tourism" to Mexico.
The Office of the President said in a statement late Wednesday that "without ceasing to value the advances made in this area and being sensitive to the views expressed by different sectors of society, the government has decided to make observations on the content of these legal instruments so that Congress will make the necessary corrections."
Last week, Congress agreed to legalize the possession of 500 milligrams of cocaine, five grams of opium prepared for smoking, 25 milligrams of heroin and five grams of marijuana, among other drugs, for personal use.
Some groups contended that the legislation would basically legalize the use of drugs.
The legislation was prompted by a desire to combat sales of small amounts of drugs and set uniform possession standards to be used in prosecutions nationwide.
Legislators wanted to allow individuals to possess small amounts of drugs for personal consumption, while imposing prison terms of four to eight years for the possession or sale of larger quantities of narcotics.