Mexico’s drug war

Mexico’s drug war – The Big Picture –

In December of 2006, Mexico’s new President Felipe Calderón declared war on the drug cartels, reversing earlier government passiveness. Since then, the government has made some gains, but at a heavy price – gun battles, assassinations, kidnappings, fights between rival cartels, and reprisals have resulted in over 9,500 deaths since December 2006 – over 5,300 killed last year alone. President Barack Obama recently announced extra agents were being deployed to the border and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton heads to Mexico today to pursue a broad diplomatic agenda – overshadowed now by spiraling drug violence and fears of greater cross-border spillover. Officials on both sides of the border are committed to stopping the violence, and stemming the flow of drugs heading north and guns and cash heading south.

2 Baja California state police stand guard at a captured marijuana greenhouse in the basement of a ranch in Tecate, Mexico on March 12, 2009. (REUTERS/Jorge Duenes)
2 Baja California state police stand guard at a captured marijuana greenhouse in the basement of a ranch in Tecate, Mexico. (REUTERS/Jorge Duenes)

I know it may sound naïve, but I have to wonder if a lot of the residual violence would be quelled if marijuana were made legal.1 I know drugs aren’t the only reason for border control, but I also wonder if the border situation would be different too. I believe enough in the power of the free market that it could regulate the—shall we say—more colorful characters in the industry.

Or maybe  I’ve just been watching too much Weeds. Seriously, that show is funny, but I’m left after watching season 4 with a vague uneasiness. I think it got to me, that there are actually people out there whose lives become wholly consumed by the drug profession.

  1. I’m certainly not eager to try it out, for the record.

5 thoughts on “Mexico’s drug war

  1. Interesting thoughts, though I wonder just how badly pot does quell ambition, and just how many people really don’t try or use it because it is illegal. Would we inadvertently kill what little ambition might be left in the next generation of leaders? With an increasing and overinflated sense of entitlement and self-worth already at unhealthy levels this might be the camel that broke America’s back. And yes, I could be way too far on the crazy side of things.. just hypothesizing =)

    Also, did you mean “legal” referring to your footnote?

  2. Thanks for the correction.

    I don’t know that marijuana use would kill ambition (but it could, I don’t know), and I’m not saying I think it should be made legal, just that I’m ambivalent.
    It’s certainly addictive, and certainly (as evident from the other pictures) not the only drug involved—and I’m not ambivalent about cocaine—but there are legal addictions that can be just as destructive; an alcohol problem can destroy your productivity/livelihood/career/family/life too, if you let it.

  3. Totally agree on the legalization of weed. Why?
    – Its a less dangerous drug than alcohol b/c its a stimulant and not a depressant. While they shouldn’t, people who are high can definitely still drive… I also personally believe that it is not as “hard” of a drug as alcohol – meaning that its tough to be completely incapacitated by smoking it, whereas folks get “wasted” on alcohol all the time.
    – Legalization and regulation would help to put an end to the violence caused by the illegal trade of the drug, just like when prohibition ended in the US — Although as a side note its really up for debate how many drug cartels make their money from weed. I’ve heard that there’s just not that much money in it compared to harder drugs. This is certainly the case in the inner city gangs of the US – its pretty clear that they make all of their money from crack cocaine. In Mexico where marijuana is grown, it may be more profitable…
    – It would bring in much needed government revenue through taxation – especially in CA where our state government is deeply in debt!
    – As far as I know, weed is not physically addictive like harder drugs that I am also not ambivalent about legalizing. And like alcohol, it can be used “recreationally” without impairment to – as you said – productivity/livelihood/career/family/life. (Some of the most productive/lively/ambitious/caring/full-of-life people I know smoke pot.)
    – I’m a libertarian at heart. Let the people do what they want as long as its not a force that will be beyond their control and will cause them to hurt themselves / others. I realize that this is a very fuzzy way to draw the legal/illegal line, but I believe that if the line is already drawn on the far side of alcohol, its sort of ridiculous that its drawn on this side of weed.
    – wow I just wrote a lot ;o)

  4. It would bring in much needed government revenue through taxation…
    Absolutely. Which reminds me, I forgot to mention that the money poured into the war on drugs could be reallocated, something else that is quite timely.

  5. I am very much in favour of it being legalised for all the points Rob brought up. Many of the negative connotations we have with marijuana were brought on by government scaremongering (e.g., Reefer Madness, the commercials from the ’80s [‘I learnt it by watching you, Dad!’]).

    The scare tactics have gone so far as to make the growing of hemp illegal in the States due to the fact that marijuana could be grown surreptitiously in a field of hemp, which is bunk. Either/both of these, while properly regulated, could be a large source of income for the country. And that doesn’t even touch on the number of people given long prison sentences for low-volume marijuana use.

    I am left with the belief that marijuana is the same as alcohol during prohibition, especially since it is far less damaging and addictive than either alcohol or nicotine. There has yet, in my opinion, to be a good reason to keep marijuana as an illicit drug. That and you don’t smell like an ashtray afterward.

    Thankfully it was decriminalised in Oregon in ’73 making possession of less than an ounce a Class C. There’s even an initiative making its way to the 2010 ballots for it to be legalised. It’s not the first and it might not pass, but that’s how we Oregonians roll ;)

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