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.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Wall Street Journal suggests raising white flag on marijuana prohibition to de-fund Mexican cartels
It's quite astonishing to see this subhed in today's Wall Street Journal story titled "Saving Mexico": "To weaken the cartels, some argue the U.S. should legalize marijuana, let cocaine pass through the Caribbean and take the profit motive out of the drug trade." According to the WSJ:
Several other related, recent stories caught my eye today.
An AP story published widely on Christmas Day noted the odd truth that El Paso remains a relatively calm, crime-free city compared to Juarez across the river where the worst of the Mexican cartel wars are raging.
Meanwhile, an ominous item from The Business Insider notes that drug profits and increased value of expatriate remittances thanks to the falling peso are all that's propping up the Mexican economy, which is 12th largest in the world, now that the nation's oil reserves are running out.
This New York Times piece from last week details the story of a corrupt US Customs agent from El Paso.
Former Seattle police chief Norm Stamper says the death of drug kingpin Arturo Beltran Leyva doesn't reflect a victory for law enforcement but instead creates a job opening for thugs underneath him. PBS has the story of retaliation killings against a Mexican military hero's family by Beltran's gang, who may have had assistance from local police in making their getaway. Ciudad Juarez, reports PBS, has a murder rate three times as high as Baghdad, Iraq.
This item from a former Mexican foreign minister discusses how few good options present themselves to Mexican President Felipe Calderon in prosecuting the drug war Though he didn't make the analogy explicit, the story reminded me of accounts of Lyndon Johnson as he struggled to make sense of US policy during the Vietnam War.