Monday, December 28, 2009

Saving Mexico, Legalizing Pot

This story from the Wall Street Journal (!) suggests that legalizing marijuana would be a win win situation for both the economy and to reduce violence in Mexico. The story comes in the wake of the killing of Arturo Beltrán Leyva, reputedly one of Mexico's largest cartel leaders. According to the DEA, Leyva was a drug trafficker whose organization helped smuggle several billion dollars worth of cocaine and marijuana into the U.S. during the past decade. Interestingly, former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper (and member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) said that Leyva's death did not represent an achievement for law enforcement in stopping cartel activity but rather represented a job opening for any number of his lieutenants who will step in.
Growing numbers of Mexican and U.S. officials say—at least privately—that the biggest step in hurting the business operations of Mexican cartels would be simply to legalize their main product: marijuana. Long the world's most popular illegal drug, marijuana accounts for more than half the revenues of Mexican cartels.

"Economically, there is no argument or solution other than legalization, at least of marijuana," said the top Mexican official matter-of-factly. The official said such a move would likely shift marijuana production entirely to places like California, where the drug can be grown more efficiently and closer to consumers. "Mexico's objective should be to make the U.S. self-sufficient in marijuana," he added with a grin.
Full article here.

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