Mexico’s drug war

Mex­i­co’s drug war — The Big Pic­ture — Boston​.com

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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