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MEXICO: The drug culture

Raúl Escalante reports from Mexico: "I know that many people in Mexico use marihuana infusions to ease aches, but had never heard about peyote being used in this manner. As far as I know it is not a very commercial hallucinogenic and is not found throughout the country. People make "pilgrimages" to Real de Catorce in San Luis Potosí to try the peyote that grows naturally in the desert. I've never heard of peyote being cultivated (I have a few friends whom I will ask when, and if, I meet them).

On one occasion, my mother bought marihuana to plant a few seeds, and seep the fresh leaves in alcohol for my grandmother's back. She carefully planted a the seeds in a long pot (no pun intended) and in a matter of weeks had two beautiful rows of six-inch tall plants. My mother's adventures in drug cultivation ended, however, when her cat found the plot and ate every single plant. It was a quaint story and I tried to imagine what the cat's 'trip' must have been like until someone knowledgeable informed me that marihuana needs to combust in order to release its hallucinogenic chemicals. I guess it only got indigestion.

I don't know if cocaine is injected, but I do know it is inhaled or smoked. Cocaine used to be very rare here in Mexico (it was all in transit to the US) and its consumption concentrated in the TV/pop artist scene or in high-pressure circles such as stock-brokers. In the recent past, sale of cocaine seems to have made strong inroads into affluent high schools (in my time, only marihuana and acid were commonplace). Apparently in the weeks after September 11, when tons of drug were parked on the border waiting to be smuggled into the US (with little chance of getting in) traffickers decided to try their luck in the Mexican market with considerable success. All in all, incredibly sad".

My ignorant comment: "marijuana infusions" "marijuana needs to be combusted". Sounds like a contradiction to me. Ask the cat. Peyote has been the subject of legal action in the US. Its use by the Yaqui, Tarahumara and Huichol Indians is legal because it is for religious purposes. They are mostly in Mexico, where I suppose they have no problem. Sherlock Holmes injected cocaine in a time when its use was permitted in England. I believe dentists used it too. Perhaps Linda Nyquist has something to add to this, since she has traveled widely in rural Mexico.

Ronald Hilton - 1/20/02