Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

Legalization: a Perspective from Mexico

Wednesday, November 14, 2012 |

Samuel Bojorquez RioDoce Sunday, November 11, 2012


Translated by un vato for Borderland Beat

Dedicated to Ethan Nadelmann, for his tenacious struggle.

The legalization of marihuana in the United States is a relevant trend, to say the least, that is already having an impact in countries that, like Mexico, have serious problems derived from the business of drug trafficking.

Along with the presidential and congressional elections in the United States last Tuesday, (legalization) for recreational use (consumption for pleasure), gay marriages, funding abortions...

Colorado and Washington approved recreational consumption of marihuana-- Oregon opposed it-- and with that they join 15 other states that allow the consumption of Cannabis, although these others allow it for medicinal purposes.

It's a historical event in the United States that, little by little, advances against prohibitionist policies, in a global environment that is reporting an increase in criminal activities involving drug trafficking and in which high level opinions are coming together to propose debate, urgently, on the timing of legalizing the consumption of drugs like marihuana.

Two years ago, in November of 2010, the residents of California rejected this measure in the midst of loud debate that injected the theme into the national agenda, which the defenders of the so-called Proposition 19 noted at the time, despite the defeat they suffered.

After those debates, it was no longer a matter of "hippies and cops", and one must give thanks for American democracy that today its citizens are now putting matters as controversial and urgent as this on the table and are able to make decisions about them.

In Mexico, we are still in diapers, with the laudable exception of the nation's capital, where themes such as the decriminalization of marihuana consumption, abortion, gay marriage, euthanasia, were addressed and resolved, or are about to be resolved, in an environment that in substance resembles the great European democracies and that of the United States itself.
Most citizens in Mexico are clueless to the 2009 "legalization".  See footnote

In April of last year, the Chamber of Deputies (Camara de Diputados) approved penal and (public) health reforms, intended to combat the sale of drugs at retail, in which the right of addicts to consume drugs is recognized, when and if drug possession does not exceed specified amounts. But it was not the intent of those reforms to decriminalize consumption, but, rather, to create a punitive framework against the sale of drugs at retail, which is different.

Resistance to the decriminalization of consumption continues to dominate the issue, which is only mentioned in marginal circles, but not in the great spheres of public power, even with the manifest failures of anti-drug policies, beginning with the more than 70,000 reported deaths that President Felipe Calderon's war against the drug cartels has left.

Does the decriminalization of marihuana consumption help in the fight against drug cartels? It is clear that it will not solve the problem, but it will represent progress while, viewed from a certain perspective, it will greatly decrease their income and, therefore, their operational capability. To decriminalize means, in itself, to regulate, normalize, and this would also include its production and commercialization.
 
 But you cannot decriminalize the consumption of marihuana for recreational purposes if you penalize its sale. Somebody will have to sell it legally, and, therefore, somebody else will have to produce it within the law.

Those who defended Proposition 19 in California argued that legalization of marihuana would mean the loss of 60% of the income of the Mexican drug trafficking cartels. That is very difficult to measure unless one has access to the narcos' books, but it is evident that it will  reduce their profits. Their war making capabilities would also have to diminish, and therefore their propensity for violence.
 
Today, they have a monopoly on the production, movement and sale. Including the sale at retail in the largest marketplace in the world; because the distribution networks are no longer "gringo only," but also Mexican, with operators directly linked with drug cartels here. The drug is grown in the mountains -- or in the valleys, with support of irrigation modules, as we saw in 2006--, it is transported using small aircraft, through tunnels, via highway or by sea to the United States and delivered to operators working with the same cartel in Arizona, Nevada, California or New York for distribution.

All this would turn into a crisis with the decriminalization of marihuana. And government should even look at this from an economic perspective. And get ahead of the times. The decision taken on Tuesday by the citizens of Washington and Colorado begins a new chapter in the debate over drugs, because it will no longer be authorized just for medicinal purposes, but for whoever wants to use it just for the pleasure of using it, just like they do today with a beer or a shot of whiskey.
                                           -Video below was filmed in DF it features a man on the street interviews
                                                          of the US election, but primarily opinions of the MJ legalization in two states.-
video

Ball and chain
The trend in the world is towards decriminalization, and Mexico should have many more reasons to enter wholeheartedly into the debate. Two years ago, on the same day that the matter was being voted on in California, Calderon said that what was needed was a comprehensive global review on the regulatory framework regarding drugs. And he predicted that an eventual legalization would not stop the violence associated with organized crime, but would generate greater economic stimuli for criminal organizations. It looks like he now thinks differently, judging from what he has said recently, but in any case, his words should be taken seriously.
 Against the flow
There are other countries that are already "putting on the huarache" (beginning to do something about this). Last June, the Uruguayan Defense Minister,  Eleuterio Fernandez Huidobro,  presented a legislative proposal to legalize marihuana as a measure to combat crime. According to the proposal, the government would have a monopoly over the distribution and sale of marihuana, which would only be sold to adults registered as consumers in a database.
 Against the flow
That you're the boss in Sinaloa, Governor? Don't make us laugh: in Sinaloa the narcos have been in charge for decades.

Foot Note:
Mexico passed legalization of drug possession- in certain quantities- for personal use. 
The law passed in 2009 and sets out maximum “personal use” amounts for drugs, also including LSD and methamphetamine. People detained with those quantities no longer face criminal prosecution.
The maximum amount of marijuana for “personal use” under the new law is 5 grams — the equivalent of about four joints. The limit is a half gram for cocaine, the equivalent of about 4 “lines.” For other drugs, the limits are 50 milligrams of heroin, 40 milligrams for methamphetamine and 0.015 milligrams for LSD.
 Anyone caught with drug amounts under the new personal-use limit will be encouraged to seek treatment, and for those caught a third time treatment is mandatory.
 

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22 Borderland Beat Comments:

Anonymous said...

I am moving to Washington or Colorado soon as I can.

Anonymous said...

Cartels are paying anyone who speaks out against marijuana.

If you're a politician on somebody's payroll than it's your job to be corrupt right? Otherwise how will this logic lessen or cause more violence? Nations are fed up with prohibition and it seems like that will work because nothing else does. Is anyone happy with cops enforcing the laws in Mexico? No, so roll a blunt, take up arms and blast the next faggot that comes along for a quota!

Theses worthless narcos are always going to fight or move onto other markets so let's rid them of profits from marijuana. If it's legal than states can produce their own cheap marijuana to compete with Mexican brick weed just like you have grey goose and bottom level 5ths of vodka for a tenth of the price. It's simple market economics. -Thank you BB and greetings from Fresno CA

Anonymous said...

Drugs will always be consumed!!!!It's just a matter of ethics.Marihuana back in the 1970's was 6% thc at it's best.Now with indoor lights and hydro set ups,the thc can be as high as 29%.....Can a "true grower" sell the clone from a mother plant to a cartel? The answer is Hell no.....The best strains come from clones,good luck getting them .....

Anonymous said...

If it was illegal before and the narcos still got it here, why would they stop now that it's legal and there is an even bigger market.
I was for marijuana, eventhough I don't smoke, but now I see it might not do this world any good. "It's okay to be drunk" is now "it's okay to be stoned". Maybe it'll spark a movement for Potheads Anonymous

Anonymous said...

when its illigal theres more profit to be made out of it. When it becomes legal all over the world. Cannabis will cost and should cost next to nothing since it can grow anywhere and alot of it. You can grow your own. The cartels wont be in the busissnes unless they go legit which means they wont have to kill to settle arguments. They can sue. And dont start stereotypin that mexicans are just violent. They just had to do what they had to do to survive in the poor environment. Their own government helped them maintain poor and then crakced down on them when they got rich for selling grass to the gringos. remember Cocain and meth are man made and they made it for a purpose. Cripple society and enslave the blacks and hispanics and poor people so they can bust them later.

Anonymous said...

I dont know, but i just think of the innocent lives that were taken by the cartels...all the dead bodies left in holes, left in trailers..just doesnt seem fair to me.

Anonymous said...

It's wishful thinking that legalising marijuana will help to stop the cartel violence in Mexico or America.
Hard drugs like amphetamines, cocaine and others are even more lucrative for the cartels as they will have a captive market.
With such a lucrative market in addictive drugs, the cartels will continue to battle for turf.
As never before.
What is there for them to stop them from trying to corner the market?
They even have a finger in extorting from legitimate businesses in Mexico.
And captive customers for drugs are a God send!!!
Mark my words, the killing will continue unabated!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Gateway drug. Then more people will head onto the heavier drugs. (not everyone but there will be more). Narcos will need to supply more other illegal drugs.

Anonymous said...

Any idiot with an Internet connection can order seeds from Europe or Canada from the best seed banks known to man. Clones are not necessary for genetics.

Anonymous said...

These killers will be the same even if pot is legal. They will use violence and intimidation to get what they want regaurdless. Do you think they will simply reform if they cant make $ from weed ? Let them die they same way they lived . by the sword. Then lock the rest of them in americas super max prisons and let them cry like the cowards they are while they live out their souls in a isolated cell

Anonymous said...

... Is true! it makes it a bigger market for traffickers... Who would wanna pay taxes for less??? $50.99+tax for 3.5g... when you could just keep buying of ur regular dealer tax free.
Making weed legal is dumb!.... Goverment should focus on the real drug! Hard drugs coke,meth,heroin, ect.. Thats where the millions are made thats where cartels get so powerful, but weed?? Cartels give weed away for free to mexico and the u.s to distract them from the real money maker, goverment finds 1ton of weed and "burn it" and theres no problem for the cartel, but if they find 1ton of coca, and "burn it", oh! Dear heads will roll , cartels would shit fire thru there asses.. Legalize coca,meth,heroin ect.. What will happend?? I wonder... Oh wait!
NO LES COMBIENE AL GOVIERNO DE AMBOS LADOS.....

Anonymous said...

Are you a taxpayer buddy? That shit is expensive..

Anonymous said...

As the gremlin said in the movie "Gremlins"
"I suggested to my clients to lay in a supply of shotgun shells and can foods".

more drugs never a good thing.
Ask the little girl that was found in a dog cage while her stupefied father was found sleeping it off on the couch.

Anonymous said...

So the cartel criminals will just stop their criminal ways and lead legitimate lives if drugs are legalized? The Italian mafia did not disappear after prohibition. They got stronger making their money smuggling cigarrettes, alchohol and eventually dealing drugs. It was not until the 1980's the Mafia was curbed by prosecutions.

The cartels will find other sources of revenue and currently the next best thing is kinapping Mexicans for ransom or kidnapping children for sale.

Concentrate on ending the prohibition on citizens owning weapons. In the meantime enjoy your socialism.

Anonymous said...

Update- Eric Holder gave a speech last week about mj. Unless congress over rules the federal mandate on mj...he's not going to allow mj for rec.use. He is 100% against any use of mj. So,even if he stops being TOP COP, get ready for a fight from the Justice Dept.and the DEA.They will do anything to block it. I do not even use it but I'd rather people smoke pot than drink!

Anonymous said...

Bottom line is that the cartels would lose revenue. Gas stations sell lots of stuff, but without gas they couldn't survive. This is no different. The little stuff is also what draws in new members, no one honestly wants to be part of the evil they create, but it is a slippery slope.

Anonymous said...

Legalization is a crock of shit. You will see. It will solve nothing. It will only prove to the criminals that you are weak and they will get worse.

Muslim terrorists are emboldened by weak Obama's re-election. Hamas is attacking Isreal because of this. There will be all-out war in the Middle East within a month.

Anonymous said...

Cocaine comes from the coca plant ,meth is man made

Anonymous said...

@8:23 AM What makes you think you have a choice? Nobody cares what you would rather. They just want to get high - and drink and drive and pilot airplanes and operate on your wife's cancer tumor and do your root canal - while they are high.

The cartels are going to do what they want to do to keep revenue up. Like robbery, murder, kidnapping, extortion. Legal marijuana won't slow them down at all. Hard drugs are far more profitable.

Anonymous said...

Eric Holder hasn't said anything. He has always been against it but for the last few months have been silent on the issue. Don't spread lie. Legalization inthe whole USA can kill the cartel's shitty weed business.

Anonymous said...

I heard in CNN news that the weed in Washington and Colorado don't have the high..

Anonymous said...

There already is a marijuana anonymous moron

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