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As If It Weren't Obvious Already
December 28, 2009 1:12 PM   Subscribe

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."
posted by kliuless (108 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
stop making sense
posted by philip-random at 1:14 PM on December 28, 2009 [14 favorites]


Am I being naive to think that the USA is the Cartel,s only market? If we legalize it they would just focus on other markets. Sure they'd take a hit, and maybe there'd be some consolidation and a few layoffs, but the market would be found elsewhere. wouldn't it?
posted by Gungho at 1:21 PM on December 28, 2009


Making pot legal might actually increase violence south of the border even more in the short term, with drug gangs fighting over a smaller economic pie of the remaining illegal drugs. But it would eventually reduce the overall financial clout of cartels.
I'm all for legalization, but this is my primary concern with it which rarely seems to be addressed. Once pot is legal, the how many people become "unemployed"? The article hand-waves it, saying that it will "eventually reduce", but I'm not so sure about that. The people who were selling pot aren't likely to go back to the 9-5, are they?
posted by codacorolla at 1:22 PM on December 28, 2009


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.

Ok good idea let's tell Congress to do this.

Hey Congress, we're going to save some brown people's lives by legalizing marijuana. Oh, I'm sorry, what's that? You don't give a fuck about brown people? Or poor people? Or even the people in your own district? Oh so you like it when people go to prison for petty offenses? Oh okay sorry dudes sorry I bothered you carry on with the war and deficit spending and stuff.
posted by Avenger at 1:24 PM on December 28, 2009 [48 favorites]


I'm all for legalization, but this is my primary concern with it which rarely seems to be addressed. Once pot is legal, the how many people become "unemployed"? The article hand-waves it, saying that it will "eventually reduce", but I'm not so sure about that. The people who were selling pot aren't likely to go back to the 9-5, are they?

On the other hand, some unemployed will be able to get a great new career working in the legal marijuana industry. Probably not the same people who dealt when it was illegal, but enough that it will work out.
posted by Electrius at 1:24 PM on December 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Currently, Ciudad Juarez (just across the Rio Grande from El Paso, TX) has the highest murder rate per capita in the hemisphere, and all thanks to the drug war going on between rival gangs. You read that right... worse than Bogotá, Port-au-Prince, Cali, and Detroit. And according to this report, it's the worst in the world.

For now, El Paso has remained one of the safer big cities in the US, but few El Paso citizens are willing to cross the border anymore. In fact, the US Army installation at Fort Bliss has prohibited its off-duty soldiers from going cross-border during their R&R; one soldier was killed in a Juarez bar recently.

It's sobering to think that all of this is due to our insatiable appetite for drugs.

Well, not sobering enough, apparently.

I have to go to Juarez next year. I'd rather be going to Bagdad.
posted by math at 1:28 PM on December 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think a better argument would be how many jobs marijuana legalization might create, and the money it would keep, in the US economy.

Legalizing marijuana in response to violence — especially violence that mostly takes place in a foreign country — looks like weakness and surrender. That is not The American Way; it looks more like political suicide.
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:31 PM on December 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


While you're at it, please consider undermining the Taliban by making heroin legal.
posted by peeedro at 1:34 PM on December 28, 2009 [6 favorites]


The people who were selling pot aren't likely to go back to the 9-5, are they?

The people I know who sell pot would keep on selling it, because they keep their clientele by providing quality.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 1:36 PM on December 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


Removing the illegal drug market might save Mexico, that leaves us with some fairly significant issues of our own. Some might argue that legalizing drugs in this country would reduce a lot of crime and poverty on our own streets. I can see some of the logic behind that. But I have also seen small-scale abuses of medical marijuana permits (two or 3 cards held by one person, for example), and in those cases, neither state nor local law enforcement nor health health departments believed they have anything to do with violations. It's a scale issue, in many ways--The Netherlands can deal with this because it is a small country. America is too large to simply legalize dope. States should tackle this if it's important to their citizens.
posted by njbradburn at 1:38 PM on December 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


To point out that the War on Drugs only strengthens the cartels is like pointing out that the War on Terror only breeds more terrorists.

It's a feature - not a bug. Those with the right connections are making money this way and they'd like to keep to doing so, thank you.
posted by Joe Beese at 1:39 PM on December 28, 2009 [21 favorites]


What a wonderful world it would be if people started thinking rationally when it came to marijuana. Maybe I'm wrong in imagining that whatever jobs would be lost from the ever-so-wasteful 'War on Drugs' would probably be dwarfed by the jobs created from growing, cultivating, packaging, selling, advertising, and all the other stuff that comes from a new product hitting the market. Also, from the independent studies I've seen in places that have legalized pot, there's really no indication that usage of pot doesn't really seem to go up just because it's legal. Not for people who use it already or for new users.

Too bad not even Obama has the balls to make a move towards decriminalization. I don't know what it will take to stop the WoD, but I'd contribute any extra money left after picking up a quad, er, I mean however much funds I could to the campaign.
posted by Bageena at 1:39 PM on December 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


I have to quote The Wire here:
It's not a *war* on drugs...wars end.
We seem to wage proxy wars on the poor/people of color - and this is no exception.
posted by dbmcd at 1:43 PM on December 28, 2009 [7 favorites]


Although legalizing weed makes perfect sense for a million reasons, the cartels would just shift their exports to cocaine, meth, ecstacy and heroin. Relatively speaking, these drugs are more dense and thus easier and more profitable to export than weed is anyway. The problem is, of course, the cartles would be battling over a smaller pie so I would suspect things would get worse before it got better. So we'd be right back where we are now. And it isn't like the cartels will take their logistics expertise they've gathered moving weed across the border and go legit moving limes and Dos Equis. Like executives for legit business, I don't think they'll go quietly when their bottom line gets impacted.

The relaxing the enforcement of blow coming through Caribbean is a new one to me. The reason that route was shut down before was due to the violence erupting in the streets of Miami in the 1980s as the Colombians fought over turf. Today those same turf battles are being fought in Tijuana, Juarez and Reynosa (as well as in the interior) and few Americans are getting hit in the crossfire. I doubt any policy maker in the US would greenlight shifting the coca supply back to the swing state of Florida any time soon.

Clearly the US policy of letting the bloodshed happen in Mexico can't really be sustained either. Ultimately the US has to come to grips with its drug problem (and its multibillion dollar prison industry that thrives on this failed drug policy) before the killing stops. Even if the US and Mexico "won" the war on drugs with the Mexican cartels and drugs stopped flowing from the southern border, it would just mean other ports of entry would be opened up (Florida/Caribbean, Asia, Canada, etc).

Separating la mota from cocaine, meth, etc would be a good start. I'd say legalize everything and treat drug abuse as a public health problem not a criminal matter. But that's not going to happen any time soon.
posted by birdherder at 1:43 PM on December 28, 2009 [7 favorites]


You read that right... worse than Bogotá, Port-au-Prince, Cali, and Detroit.

I appreciate the sentiment, just wanted to observe that per capita violent crime (for 2008) in Detroit didn't even crack the top 10 in terms of US cities. We have a sadly well-deserved reputation for mayhem here, but I want to keep the facts straight.
posted by joe lisboa at 1:45 PM on December 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


While you're at it, please consider undermining the Taliban by making heroin legal.

Yes, because the two situations are entirely comparable.
posted by cmoj at 1:46 PM on December 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


C'mon people, we all know the drill, nothing happens until "nice white families" start feeling the pinch.

Ultimately the US has to come to grips with its drug problem (and its multibillion dollar prison industry that thrives on this failed drug policy) before the killing stops.


And this isn't gonna happen cause you can't hear the problem over the sound of "Ca-khing!"
posted by The Whelk at 1:47 PM on December 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


It's sobering to think that all of this is due to our insatiable appetite for drugs.

It's hardly fair to call a thing "insatiable" when no one has made even the slightest attempt to satiate it.
posted by Greg Nog at 1:48 PM on December 28, 2009 [6 favorites]


consider undermining the Taliban by making heroin legal.

Do I have my stories wrong, didn't the Taliban eliminate poppy growing in Afghanistan?

What I find interesting about the Wall St Journal piece is that it sounds to me like the money Republicans are giving up on the idea of needing the God Republicans to vote, and are transitioning toward creating a new group for upcoming elections.
posted by rakish_yet_centered at 1:49 PM on December 28, 2009


Am I being naive to think that the USA is the Cartel,s only market? If we legalize it they would just focus on other markets.

Do you mean "isn't" in the first sentence?

Not the only market, but the closest and largest market. Without the US in the picture, the game would change considerably.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:50 PM on December 28, 2009


"It's sobering to think that all of this is due to our insatiable appetite for drugs. "

I've never really understood the logic behind this way of thinking. So a criminal cartel ships quite literally kilo after kilo and ton after ton of the most addictive drugs on the face of the earth into america and then gets to stand back and exclaim - wow, americans really have an insatiable appetite for drugs. Really?
posted by vronsky at 1:54 PM on December 28, 2009


The people who were selling pot aren't likely to go back to the 9-5, are they?

I think this is a bit of a "broken window" fallacy, isn't it?

I think Joe Beese is right: Money laundering is a highly profitable venture. Making drugs legal would cut into some serious revenue for highly-placed officials, no doubt.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:56 PM on December 28, 2009


cmoj said: Yes, because the two situations are entirely comparable.
Interestingly (although I can't find a citation right now), I recently heard that heroin addiction in Switzerland is down 72% since its legalization in 2007. That's huge - and the theory was that drug addicts recruit new users in order to fund their own supply of drugs. Now that dope is free - no one *really* wants to make more addicts (even current addicts), and the motivation is removed, ergo: waaayy fewer addicts.
/derail
posted by dbmcd at 1:58 PM on December 28, 2009 [7 favorites]


Do I have my stories wrong, didn't the Taliban eliminate poppy growing in Afghanistan?

Things have changed recently.
posted by peeedro at 2:02 PM on December 28, 2009


Hey Congress, we're going to save some brown people's lives by legalizing marijuana. Oh, I'm sorry, what's that? You don't give a fuck about brown people? Or poor people?

I really wish you would reconsider this. By stopping all critical analysis of this complex multivariable problem at the identification of a superficial racial characteristic, you're denying yourself the opportunity to apply your unique education, experience, and intellect to the deeper and more subtle aspects of the problem. You are also denying us the opportunity to hear what conclusions you'd have drawn that could have illuminated the issue for us and furthered our collective understanding.

Instead we get "Congress hates brown people."

On to the point of the post. You can't take the profit motive out of the drug trade by doing this, because it wouldn't eliminate the trade aspect and therein lies the profit.

After giving this problem a lot of thought, I've concluded that drugs will not can not be legalized in the US until the following conditions are met. Furthermore, once the following conditions are met, I predict that drug legalization will happen very soon after the last of these condiitions is met (within one presidential election cycle). The conditions are:

1. Drug production becomes a very low-margin commodity manufacturing process, like staple foods or low-end manufactured goods. This would require drug production to be legalized in the various countries that drugs are now produced.

2. Profit margins on the drug trade are the widest in the distribution (wholesale) part of the chain. This requires multiple sourcing. E.g. cocaine has to come from a variety of countries and production cartels, not just Columbia under the control of whatever succeeded Escobar's gang.

3. Medical research demonstrates that the most of the health risks associated with drug use are not due to the drug itself but to one or more of (a) poor dosage control because purity of street drugs is not consistent or reliable; (b) poor quality control as evidenced by drugs being cut with toxic chemicals, filled with dangerous contaminants, or the like; (c) inherently associating with a criminal element in order to acquire drugs illegally.

4. Acknowledgment by officials that the drug trade creates a grey-market underclass of non-drug traffickers who, because their income is derived indirectly from the drug trade (or from family members in the drug trade), have undeclarable cash-only incomes that prevent them from accessing the legitimate banking, housing, and healthcare industries.

5. Evidence that maintaining the drug trade as illegal deprives local, state, and federal governments of substantial corporate, payroll, and personal income tax revenue that would be collected if an identically structured drug market was legal.

6. Pharamaceutical companies can persuade governments that issues of quality control, dosage, health and safety can only be satisfactorily addressed if they are permitted to sell narcotics the way they sell generic pharmaceuticals. (Remember that (a) most street drugs other than pot were invented by pharma companies in the first place and (b) none of them are covered by patents, so they could be sold as generic prescriptions are.)

7. Pharma convinces the government that by selling narcotics, they could make substantial investments in medical research, which is presently being cut because of the complete lack of significant patented drug pipelines.

Some explanation: in the current US economic model, all the profits are downstream from distribution. In most cases and in most consumer markets, the retailer can control the behavior of supplier (Walmart, Best Buy). This is universally true in markets where there are many suppliers offering undifferentiated products. At present in the drug trade, the profits are concentrated in the supplier (the cartel) and in the importer (the trafficker who moves it over the border. In a legit market, these two functions become low-margin commodity operations.

I believe that if these come to pass, either through the natural evolution of the drug market or through legislation and enforcement, then you will see legalized drugs of all kinds. It may be some trademarked, branded cocaine sold by Pfizer, and you may not like that phrama makes the money on it, but I think this is the most likely route to legalization.
posted by Pastabagel at 2:04 PM on December 28, 2009 [20 favorites]


Oh, I'm sorry, what's that? You don't give a fuck about brown people? Or poor people? Or even the people in your own district? Oh so you like it when people go to prison for petty offenses? Oh okay sorry dudes sorry I bothered you carry on with the war and deficit spending and stuff.

Private prisons mean business lobbies in D.C mean there is no incentive for anyone in Congress or the greater business community to do anything about reducing prison populations for any reason, ever. Business is about expanding your take, not reducing it. Want to eliminate the incentive? Eliminate all private prisons and force them all to be state-run institutions paid for out of tax coffers.
posted by hippybear at 2:06 PM on December 28, 2009 [6 favorites]


1. Drug production becomes a very low-margin commodity manufacturing process, like staple foods or low-end manufactured goods. This would require drug production to be legalized in the various countries that drugs are now produced.

I believe the idea is that, if marijuana were legalized, we could (would?) become easily the world's largest producer of marijuana. where else it might be legalized would therefore not be an issue, yes?

2. Profit margins on the drug trade are the widest in the distribution (wholesale) part of the chain. This requires multiple sourcing. E.g. cocaine has to come from a variety of countries and production cartels, not just Columbia under the control of whatever succeeded Escobar's gang.

I don't totally understand this point. I believe that this is probably the case, but why would it be an incentive for legalization of marijuana? I'm confused. also, I'm confused as to why you bring up cocaine repeatedly in this list. and narcotics.

3. Medical research demonstrates that the most of the health risks associated with drug use are not due to the drug itself but to one or more of (a) poor dosage control because purity of street drugs is not consistent or reliable; (b) poor quality control as evidenced by drugs being cut with toxic chemicals, filled with dangerous contaminants, or the like; (c) inherently associating with a criminal element in order to acquire drugs illegally.

Do I recall correctly that we have multiple peer-reviewed studies about this already for pot? I might be wrong. help, mefites!

4. Acknowledgment by officials that the drug trade creates a grey-market underclass of non-drug traffickers who, because their income is derived indirectly from the drug trade (or from family members in the drug trade), have undeclarable cash-only incomes that prevent them from accessing the legitimate banking, housing, and healthcare industries.

isn't this universally accepted as truth, though? I thought the idea that criminals earn untaxed undeclared income was understood.

ok, i can't keep going point by point asking questions. so, the big one: what do you mean by narcotics? I've traditionally heard narcotics to mean opiates and things like that, whereas pot is not one.
posted by shmegegge at 2:17 PM on December 28, 2009


Clearly the US policy of letting the bloodshed happen in Mexico can't really be sustained either. Ultimately the US has to come to grips with its drug problem (and its multibillion dollar prison industry that thrives on this failed drug policy) before the killing stops. Even if the US and Mexico "won" the war on drugs with the Mexican cartels and drugs stopped flowing from the southern border, it would just mean other ports of entry would be opened up (Florida/Caribbean, Asia, Canada, etc).


The problem with writing long-winded comments like the one I just wrote is that while I'm writing, people say other interesting things that I miss. Your point about the prisons and the violent crime are of course true, but if the crime is relegated to Mexico and doesn't spread up here (a big 'if', I know) the US can keep it going and here is why.

The one thing that the US does better than any other country in the world, and better than any political entity in the entire history of the world is: assimilating and integrating immigrants. It is to the US's benefit for Mexico to get really bad to motivate the middle and upper classes of Mexico to emigrate here. Waves of middle class/refugee immigrants always trigger long term economic growth.


IT is not a mere transfer of economic activity from the home country to the US either, although that is part of it. The real reason for this is that the relative lack of regulation between the US and the 'home country' (for almost every 'home country' on earth) means that there is some level of economic activity at the margin that could not be pursued at home because of red tape or taxation that can be profitably pursued here by people already motivated to pursue that activity. This 'delta' of economic activity is what the US would capture in addition to the activity these people already undertake in the home country.

The reason this is not as true of the poor is because the middle class immigrants from other countries arrive already educated not only formally but also in 'the ways of business.' They also bring their own starting capital, so they hit the ground running.

The arrival of poor immigrants can certainly benefit the US as well, but the lack of a substantial labor market here (as well as the lack of a desire to create or resuscitate one) means that their economic future upon arrival into the US is considerably murkier, not because of who they are, but because the US does not have much to offer the working poor who live here, let alone news ones who arrive.
posted by Pastabagel at 2:18 PM on December 28, 2009


It's a scale issue, in many ways--The Netherlands can deal with this because it is a small country. America is too large to simply legalize dope. States should tackle this if it's important to their citizens.

Could you expand on this point? I fail to see how the simple size of the country is any sort of factor.
posted by pompomtom at 2:19 PM on December 28, 2009


For those arguing towards the legalization of drugs, I'll point out that seventy years after the repeal of Prohibition there are still people out there making moonshine. Given the heavy taxes on alcohol (sometimes up to half the purchase price), there's still a (small) market for illegal alcohol. If drug sales go legal, I don't think that means the death of illegal drug sales.

I don't know what the answer is. I really don't.
posted by math at 2:31 PM on December 28, 2009


I believe the idea is that, if marijuana were legalized, we could (would?) become easily the world's largest producer of marijuana. where else it might be legalized would therefore not be an issue, yes?

We import tomatoes and strawberries. We import beef, for God's sake. Why wouldn't we import pot? More importantly, if growing pot were legal here, it would immediately become more expensive than legally growing pot in say, Mexico, because Mexican labor is cheaper, the unions aren't as strong, health care is expensive, etc. We certainly could become the biggest grower, but the profit margin isn't there. It would get swallowed up by agribusiness like corn and soybeans and everything else.

2. Profit margins...

I don't totally understand this point. I believe that this is probably the case, but why would it be an incentive for legalization of marijuana? I'm confused. also, I'm confused as to why you bring up cocaine repeatedly in this list. and narcotics.



The point of these items is that you are trying to line up all the different parties incentives exactly the same way to get a result. If you want to legalize pot so Doobie Bros. Growery in Humbolt County can become the biggest pot producer, well, ConAgra and ADM and Monsanto are going to lobby against you. And they will win and Doobie Bros. will lose.

Because consumer product distribution is a massive decent-margin industry in the US. And they employ a lot of people, and pay a lot of taxes, and they lobby. If the drug market evolves such that drugs are distributed the way, say aspirin is, then it becomes an immediate and gigantic bottom line boost to companies and infrastructure already in place. So if this is true, the distributors will line up behind legalization, because they will own it and they can truthfully tell the lawmakers they lobby that it will boost tax revenue and add good jobs.

Same with everything else. You want to line up the market so that all the powerful lobbying forces are going to want to lobby for the same result, even if they do so for very different and very selfish reasons.

The reason I talk about cocaine and not pot is that pot has a problem in that it is too much like cigarettes, which are becoming less legal. Unless you want to reframe marijuana use as taking a THC pill rather than smoking a blunt, then you are fighting a trend.

By contrast, drugs like cocaine and heroin are actually useful, powerful alternatives to more expensive, patented drugs. True, they are prone to abuse, but so are vicodin, percocet, oxycontin, etc. That's why I included number 3 on that list. If people were prescribed just enough coke for it to be used as an analgesic, and if at that dosage, the addiction and OD risks were the same as current prescription pain meds, then it's hard to justify banning it. Likewise, if what harms ecstasy users is not ecstasy itself but some other contaminant, then that creates a safety reason in favor of legalization.
posted by Pastabagel at 2:33 PM on December 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


It's hardly fair to call a thing "insatiable" when no one has made even the slightest attempt to satiate it.

We don't sate appetites here in the U.S. -- that's not we do business. We stoke them to create demand.

I think the punitive/criminalization approach we take towards drugs is completely ridiculous, and particularly when it comes to marijuana it's probably a crime bigger than most committed by the cartels. But I'm not sure I want to hand Philip Morris or Diageo or even Coca-Cola carte blanche to sell this stuff.
posted by weston at 2:33 PM on December 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Things have changed recently.

3 NYT articles and a CNN article about bombing a pile of seeds?

I'm not buying it.
posted by mikelieman at 2:34 PM on December 28, 2009


ok, i can't keep going point by point asking questions. so, the big one: what do you mean by narcotics? I've traditionally heard narcotics to mean opiates and things like that, whereas pot is not one.
posted by shmegegge at 5:17 PM on December 28


I'm using narcotics to mean any illegal drug for which there is sizable and organized black market. I'm not using it in the medical/chemical sense. From a legal standpoint, it is irrational to legalize pot, alcohol, oxycontin, valium, vicodin, etc. but also restrict cigarettes, cocaine, heroin, etc.
posted by Pastabagel at 2:36 PM on December 28, 2009


So... let the terrorists win?

Or, less-flame-inducing: I am not in favor of going with a policy because people with guns are misusing them.
posted by andreaazure at 2:36 PM on December 28, 2009


thanks for the answers, Pastabagel. I understand gooder now.
posted by shmegegge at 2:37 PM on December 28, 2009


The one thing that the US does better than any other country in the world, and better than any political entity in the entire history of the world is: assimilating and integrating immigrants.

Canada and Australia do a great job with immigration too. Both have a higher percentage of foreign born residents.

Legalizing pot may well be a good idea. But it's not going to 'take the profit motive' out of growing and selling it. Indeed, it's likely to make the growth and sale far more efficient.
posted by sien at 2:44 PM on December 28, 2009


Mexico recently legalized all sorts of personal drugs, maybe we ought to follow their lead.
posted by hortense at 2:46 PM on December 28, 2009


I also love any financial excuse that comes along for legalizing the stuff.

"The economy is bad -- lets legalize and tax it!"

"Unemployment is bad -- lets legalize it and give people jobs!"

"Big Pharma is evil -- lets legalize pot and bring down prices for everything!"

If we were going on the pure financials of this, there are far better ways. Littering is still a fine, and how many cigarette butts are on any random city street? Record, ticket, enforce.
posted by andreaazure at 2:49 PM on December 28, 2009


I'm not buying it.
What more would satisfy you?

posted by peeedro at 2:49 PM on December 28, 2009


Instead we get "Congress hates brown people."

Well, okay. But they do, don't they?

I mean, is there any -- absolutely any -- rational reason for the draconian multi-billion dollar war on marijuana other than the 50 - 80 year old upper-class white men in Washington who just so happen to dislike the sorts of people who cultivate and smoke marijuana?

One of the things I've noticed about anti-marijuana ads lately is that they're not even trying to scare people with bogus medical claims anymore. Most of the ads nowadays are variations on "Don't smoke weed. If you do, we'll throw you in jail." That's it. No more "Look out! You're brain will melt and you'll kill your family!" or any of that. Just open, naked aggression: Do what we say or we'll fuck you up.

I think it's a sign that they're not even trying anymore. The gig is essentially up. Everybody seems to realize that these laws were designed to control blacks and Mexicans, that they became doubly useful in punishing hippies and unruly college students in the 60's and that this is why the laws are still in place today.

Few will admit it in public or on TV, but everybody basically knows it nowadays. Thats why they're not even trying to defend themselves anymore. If you, as a journalist, ask them why weed should still be illegal they'll mutter something about "protecting our white culture" and something something for-the-children and then make a mental note to never grant and interview to you again. Maybe call your editor and ask why journalist so-and-so was very disrespectful towards Sen. Such-In-Such and if this is a normal practice at Media Organization XYZ, and if so, does the editor expect continued access to Sen. Such-In-Such?

But maybe you're right. Maybe Congress doesn't hate brown people so much as they hate people, or humanity, in general. There seems to be very little humanity going around our country lately anyway.
posted by Avenger at 2:49 PM on December 28, 2009 [17 favorites]


We don't sate appetites here in the U.S. -- that's not we do business. We stoke them to create demand. ... I'm not sure I want to hand Philip Morris or Diageo or even Coca-Cola carte blanche to sell this stuff.

I think it would be reasonable to allow sales without making it "carte blanche"; we don't allow Philip Morris to advertise smokes on tv, for example. For the legalizalition of weed, we could simply legalize it while heavily restricting advertising, same as we do for tobacco.

For those arguing towards the legalization of drugs, I'll point out that seventy years after the repeal of Prohibition there are still people out there making moonshine. Given the heavy taxes on alcohol (sometimes up to half the purchase price), there's still a (small) market for illegal alcohol. If drug sales go legal, I don't think that means the death of illegal drug sales.

That's true, but they would be heavily reduced, and likely lead to the end of the kinds of violence outlined in the article; when was the last time you read a story about moonshine-based turf wars?
posted by Greg Nog at 2:49 PM on December 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


While you're at it, please consider undermining the Taliban by making heroin legal.

Yes, because the two situations are entirely comparable.


Well, they are not that incomparable, are they? Both drug rings make massive profits because of US law.

I can't tell if peeedro was being sarcastic or not, but I agree. Legalize heroin, legalize LSD, legalize cocaine, legalize MDMA, legalize cannabis, legalize it all.

Making substances illegal for irrational reasons only empowers the people willing to deal in them and weakens rational people's belief in laws. There is no reason for "illegal" drugs, imo.

As cliched as his post may seem, Avenger probably has it close. It's not that Congress hates poor and brown people; they just don't care at all.

Do I recall correctly that we have multiple peer-reviewed studies about this already for pot? I might be wrong. help, mefites!

Yes, many. So many I'm not going to even look it up because anyone with half a brain can find them.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:51 PM on December 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I can't tell if peeedro was being sarcastic or not

We're in the same boat, you and I.
posted by peeedro at 2:54 PM on December 28, 2009


By my count, the big stumbling blocks in Pastabagel's Seven Steps to Legal Narcotics are numbers 4 and 7.

Acknowledgement by public officials of anything sad-but-true about the drug trade (gray economies, lost tax revenue, you name it) is not going to happen in Red State Murricah, until some large business lobby leads them by the nose*.

Likewise, I'm not so naive as to think that Big Pharma wouldn't throw its weight around if it thought it could broaden a market here or there, but I really can't envision their marketeers being comfortable with selling recreational stuff; they want to be seen as selling cures. And while one can talk about any of these things having legitimate medical uses, it's not those we're concerned about (what percentage of the drugs coming in from Juarez are headed for MS sufferers?)

InBev and, yeah, Diageo for the 'single-malt' market make more sense.

Also, yes, Congress really does hate brown people, and you spelled 'Colombia' wrong

* Did anyone else see the Wal-Mart "Enough to go 'round" music-video / war apologia advertisement in the movie theaters last weekend?

posted by Rat Spatula at 2:56 PM on December 28, 2009


I've never really understood the logic behind this way of thinking. So a criminal cartel ships quite literally kilo after kilo and ton after ton of the most addictive drugs on the face of the earth into america and then gets to stand back and exclaim - wow, americans really have an insatiable appetite for drugs. Really?


Doesn't change the fact that humans always have and always will love "drugs". I think that was the point the person was making.
posted by Liquidwolf at 3:08 PM on December 28, 2009


If you look at this in the long view, the banning of marijuana may be similar to the various bans on coffee that happened in the early history of the beverage. An initial euphoria gives way to suspicion, and only through long familiarity does suspicion give way to comfort.
posted by twoleftfeet at 3:22 PM on December 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I like how I don't have to read any of the posts between OP and my own to know the complete contents of this thread.
posted by clarknova at 3:29 PM on December 28, 2009



Instead we get "Congress hates brown people."
Well, okay. But they do, don't they?

I mean, is there any -- absolutely any -- rational reason for the draconian multi-billion dollar war on marijuana other than the 50 - 80 year old upper-class white men in Washington who just so happen to dislike the sorts of people who cultivate and smoke marijuana?
Are you kidding?

The war on drugs exists because politicians, generally speaking, are either actively in favor of criminalization of drugs or else afraid that standing against the war on drugs would be political suicide, not because they're racists who love thinking about the harm they're causing specifically to "brown people".
posted by Flunkie at 3:40 PM on December 28, 2009


And, frankly, I, ahem, know a whole lot of "the sorts of people who cultivate and smoke marijuana", and the ones I know are mostly not "brown people".
posted by Flunkie at 3:41 PM on December 28, 2009


Here is a really great debate on this subject that aired on NPR (Intelligent Squared). I really recommend it for anyone who wants to learn more about this issue.
posted by snsranch at 3:48 PM on December 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Instead we get "Congress hates brown people."

I'm a little surprised by the emphasis on race in this thread.

More marijuana tolerant countries like the Netherlands and Canada are governed by 50-80 year old white men (just like the United States), and both Mexico and Columbia have large Caucasian populations (working strictly from memory). The strictest drug laws appear in places like Saudi Arabia, and Singapore.

Where I live, police tend to claim the drug trade is controlled by biker gangs - those guys are pretty much all white.

The American congress may find the issue of legalizing drugs too controversial to seriously look at it, but I don't see European ancestry here as a deciding factor. Perhaps you need to look at the lobbying strength of the pharm industry, religious prohibitionists, or private prison contractors.
posted by Deep Dish at 3:58 PM on December 28, 2009


The best part of legalizing it would be the pot advertisements on late night TV...

Camera slowly pans in a circle around faces ala That 70s show; Maybe 5 different people, all of them laughing. Words appear on the screen as a voice over says

When was the last time something was that funny?

WEED

It could be a whole series of commercials.
posted by frecklefaerie at 4:01 PM on December 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


I think the emphasis on race, particularly with respect to marijuana, is due to the sorts of anti-Mexican/anti-black hysteria one will find upon researching the history of its criminalization in the US. It seems clear in retrospect that it was criminalized on the back of the same kind of fear that I suspect drives contemporary xenophobic movements.
posted by feloniousmonk at 4:06 PM on December 28, 2009


In general and despite the <small>-snark I participated in, I agree that as far as U. S. drug policy goes, racism is more an effect than a cause. To wit, I think it's more likely that disenfranchised blacks can't fight the crack/coke disparity than that old white racists carefully crafted the crack/coke disparity.

But I have no trouble believing that drug laws are mainly about "the pharm industry, religious prohibitionists, [and] private prison contractors" while also believing that Congress hates brown people. If nothing else, the constant inarticulate bitching about Obama has shown me that racism is alive and well in the 21st century in these United States.
posted by Rat Spatula at 4:09 PM on December 28, 2009


It is coke and not pot that is the money maker. Pot readily grown in our federal parks and in many places in our country. Not coke. Meth can be made here and is. Heroin comes from Afghanistan, mostly.

Another arguement, though I am without a position on this issue, is the tax issue. Legalize pot and there is a bundle of new tax money and all our states plus our federal govt could use that now, much as we do for smokes and booze.
posted by Postroad at 4:17 PM on December 28, 2009


I can see killing someone over heroin or coke. Not that I would, obviously, but I can see how it could happen. But dying for Mexican weed? That's fuckin' tragic, man.
posted by ryanrs at 4:36 PM on December 28, 2009


The best part of legalizing it would be the pot advertisements on late night TV...

Actually I have seen a medical marijuana dispensary ad during my latenight cable channel flipping. Not nearly as entertaining as the "free joint with first purchase" as the 420 ads in the alt weekly.
posted by birdherder at 4:39 PM on December 28, 2009


More or less tragic than dying for Tantalum ore?

Hand to god... we went to see Avatar and on the way out this woman turned to me and said "Y'know... That reminds me of the Indians!"
posted by Rat Spatula at 4:39 PM on December 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


How America Lost the War on Drugs


After Thirty-Five Years and $500 Billion, Drugs Are as Cheap and Plentiful as Ever: An Anatomy of a Failure.
posted by yoyo_nyc at 4:41 PM on December 28, 2009


This is really great stuff. I can easily imagine this newly legitimate industry employing MILLIONS of people, providing safe and affordable product and overflowing tax coffers both in the U.S. and abroad.

I don't see any downsides to that, except that maybe we'll have a shortage of designated drivers. But that's ALWAYS a problem.
posted by snsranch at 4:43 PM on December 28, 2009


This I know: As long as American prisons are for-profit enterprises, and as long as puritans and profiteers run our government, we will have prohibition. Prohibition with draconian legal sentences.

How we get rid of the profiteers and puritans...this I don't know.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 4:58 PM on December 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


Hard to say. I've never done tantalum.
posted by ryanrs at 4:59 PM on December 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


For those arguing towards the legalization of drugs, I'll point out that seventy years after the repeal of Prohibition there are still people out there making moonshine.

Meh. My impression is that many (most?) moonshiners these days do it in the same spirit as people who homebrew beer. People drink it because it's delicious and novel--if you want to get drunk for cheap it's far less effort to go to the liquor store and purchase rotgut whiskey than to track down shine. It ain't exactly a violent industry. /hillbilly
posted by little e at 6:01 PM on December 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's the money. Legalize drugs, the absurd black market value disappears and the cartels lose their engine.
posted by chance at 6:04 PM on December 28, 2009


I'm all for legalization, but this is my primary concern with it which rarely seems to be addressed. Once pot is legal, the how many people become "unemployed"? The article hand-waves it, saying that it will "eventually reduce", but I'm not so sure about that. The people who were selling pot aren't likely to go back to the 9-5, are they?
I'm sure they would prefer a 9-5 to being in jail.
The people I know who sell pot would keep on selling it, because they keep their clientele by providing quality.
I think you're being a little naïve here. In an open market where you can buy weed from anyone in the country, look up online reviews, etc, it's going to be hard for a 'boutique' dealer to survive. But on the other hand you'll start seeing weed specialty shops and stuff like that. It will be like beer. Some "microbrews" but lots and lots of bud light sold next to cigarettes and beer at supermarkets.

And the wholesale price would collapse. If weed sells for $200 an ounce, let's say, right now you only need to sell about 15 pounds of weed a year to make $50k. If you grow it yourself, that's not too hard, right? But I bet the price would drop to around the same price as tobacco which seems to cost about $3.50 a kilogram. So that's like 10¢ an ounce. Think about how difficult it would be to move from making $200 an ounce to 10¢ an ounce.
The one thing that the US does better than any other country in the world, and better than any political entity in the entire history of the world is: assimilating and integrating immigrants. It is to the US's benefit for Mexico to get really bad to motivate the middle and upper classes of Mexico to emigrate here. Waves of middle class/refugee immigrants always trigger long term economic growth.
That's insane. For one thing, we're getting tons of migrant workers too. And for another having a stable, prosperous mexico would be great for the U.S because there is a ton of imports/exports. There are tons and tons of places around the world to "recruit" from. Destabilizing our neighbor in order to get people to move here would be ridiculous.
The reason I talk about cocaine and not pot is that pot has a problem in that it is too much like cigarettes, which are becoming less legal. Unless you want to reframe marijuana use as taking a THC pill rather than smoking a blunt, then you are fighting a trend.
They don't smell nearly as bad, which is the real reason people have been trying to ban smoking in bars, etc. Plus, the health effects are not as bad, you don't smoke "a pack a day" of marijuana, etc.
I can see killing someone over heroin or coke. Not that I would, obviously, but I can see how it could happen. But dying for Mexican weed? That's fuckin' tragic, man.
They're killing people over the money.
posted by delmoi at 6:04 PM on December 28, 2009


Prohibition does not work.
posted by chance at 6:06 PM on December 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


Jimmy Havok:The people I know who sell pot would keep on selling it, because they keep their clientele by providing quality.

Making the substance legal won't necessarily protect the mom & pop dealers. If the tobacco companies are chomping at the bit to dominate this market, some strategically bought laws will ensure that their upstart competitors get locked up for not having the proper (and expensive) permits or some other such nonsense.

Its the best of both worlds: more meat for the prison system grinder and more sales for big tobacco.
posted by dr_dank at 6:22 PM on December 28, 2009


What's wrong with big tobacco? Aren't they just providing a service supplying the world's insatiable appetite for cigarettes?
posted by vronsky at 6:35 PM on December 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


Legalization??!? I've been saying that since 1970.
posted by Drasher at 6:53 PM on December 28, 2009


if marijuana were legalized, we could (would?) become easily the world's largest producer of marijuana

from the OP: "Mexico is the world's second biggest producer of marijuana (the U.S. is No. 1)"

also btw...
-Drugs: Virtually legal
-Good for your head: Creeping towards sanity on marijuana decriminalisation
-The evidence in favour of Prof Nutt [1,2]
posted by kliuless at 7:11 PM on December 28, 2009


We're all for peace and people using medicine to recover, but we need to come to our senses here.

If we legalize pot, someone might use it to relax and have a good time! Don't they know that's the church's job?
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:38 PM on December 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


And then they would be able to spend their time fighting Derbisol and Cake (the cause of Czech Neck- the leading killer of our youth.)
posted by dunkadunc at 8:23 PM on December 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


Its the best of both worlds: more meat for the prison system grinder and more sales for big tobacco.

Well, that certainly seems to be the most cynical answer. That doesn't mean that's the most likely answer. In the Netherlands, while marijuana isn't technically legal, plenty of "mom and pop" growers are in business. The best way to do it is to legalize and regulate sales and allow growing for personal use, similar to beer.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:27 PM on December 28, 2009


>: Am I being naive to think that the USA is the Cartel,s only market?

Maybe on some level the USA is the Cartel.
posted by dunkadunc at 8:31 PM on December 28, 2009


There is no cartel. No, wait, that's not right...
posted by pompomtom at 9:01 PM on December 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


There's only one thing that needs to be said: Portugal. It answers all the hysteria and questions. Decriminalization and legalization, plus social support services to help addicts get off the addiction, works. All other claims to the contrary are in denial of the facts.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:08 PM on December 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


Portugal's legalized drugs?! When? Links, please.
posted by daksya at 11:13 PM on December 28, 2009


How would legalisation take the profit motive out of the drug trade?
posted by stammer at 11:21 PM on December 28, 2009


It would remove the massive profit margins that are currently supporting organized crime.
Prohibition means that the only people dealing in drugs are going to be Hardcore Motherfuckers, who charge what they want because the penalties are so high. If you can pick up drugs for cheap at 7-11 or Rite Aid, the Hardcore Motherfuckers can't compete and criminals would be taken out of the picture.
posted by dunkadunc at 11:36 PM on December 28, 2009


Guys, the cartels are the only entities keeping the world financial system breathing through the jobless recovery of 2009-10. To change the overall situation now would pull the bottom supports from the worldwide economic house of cards. You say you want legalization? Oh! So you want widespread dislocation and chaos in the poorer neighborhoods? (And interruption of the cocaine and heroin flow to the richer nabes?) No, you most emphatically do not want that. Keeping "drugs" illegal is our only chance now, our last hope. Do not deprive the world of hope!
posted by telstar at 12:46 AM on December 29, 2009


Drug Decriminalization in Portugal (vid.) Salon columnist and bestselling author Glenn Greenwald is the author of a new Cato Institute policy paper on Portugal's pathbreaking and hugely successful drug decriminalization program. [previously]
posted by kliuless at 3:45 AM on December 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


@Daksya: Here you go.
posted by Sebmojo at 3:52 AM on December 29, 2009


Dammit.
posted by Sebmojo at 3:52 AM on December 29, 2009


Portugal's legalized drugs?! When? Links, please.

oh and here's a doc'd link if that's easier :P
posted by kliuless at 3:54 AM on December 29, 2009


Please read the links cited.

On July 1, 2001, a nationwide law in Portugal took effect that decriminalized all drugs, including cocaine and heroin. Under the new legal framework, all drugs were "decriminalized," not "legalized." Thus, drug possession for personal use and drug usage itself are still legally prohibited, but violations of those prohibitions are deemed to be exclusively administrative violations and are removed completely from the criminal realm. Drug trafficking continues to be prosecuted as a criminal offense. [my emphasis]

Drug legalization is a whole different kettle of fish than changing personal possession penalties from potential jail time to tickets & fines. There is no formal implementation of legalization i.e. bringing the entire trade chain of crop harvest to end-product retail into the legal domain, in modern times. Opiate substitution or maintenance (generally for refractory addicts), decrim as in Portugal, tolerance of discreet street-dealing, needle exchange..etc don't count.
posted by daksya at 4:05 AM on December 29, 2009


Portugal's legalized drugs?! When? Links, please.

wiki
Personal consumption of marijuana is limited at 2.5 grams per day and 0.5 grams per day of hashish. One may possess no more than 10 daily doses, otherwise it may be categorized as trafficking. The consumption still has a penalty and fine. Cultivation however, is still completely illegal and cultivation of even one plant is assumed to indicate involvement with trafficking. Possession of seeds is also illegal and despite there being several "head shops" or "grow shops" in Portugal, they too are forbidden to market the marijuana seeds. It is also true that the number of grow shops has increased over the past few years, which seems to indicate that cultivation for personal use (in Portuguese: auto-cultivo) is becoming a more common practice.
posted by DreamerFi at 4:29 AM on December 29, 2009


Wasn't mexico sort of a shit hole prior to the whole drug trade thing?
posted by rulethirty at 7:15 AM on December 29, 2009


Too much talk for too long. Decriminalize and see what happens. If things become worse than they are now, change tactics. This isn't a one-time deal that you'd be stuck with forever.

And maybe you ought to let states decide for themselves, and let people vote with their feet while you see which states best reduce crime and unnecessary imprisonment without hurting the general population in other ways.

I'd kind of like to see marijuana cafes and opium dens (and whore houses, for that matter) opening up in adult-zoned parts of downtown areas. Make them safe and clean, inspect them frequently, and put them within screaming distance of police stations and emergency clinics.

Of course, if employers decided that employees can't smoke tobacco or marijuana or anything else and expect to keep their jobs, and insurance companies decided that they didn't want to insure drug users, decriminalization wouldn't mean much for a lot of people.
posted by pracowity at 7:29 AM on December 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wasn't mexico sort of a shit hole prior to the whole drug trade thing?

It's not now?

Actually, since NAFTA trade has opened up. This can be seen in different ways, but that probably has a lot more to do with changes in Mexico's economy than the drug trade, per se.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:38 AM on December 29, 2009


I think that this is a good idea. It could easily be legalized and taxed. Look at tobacco for example, fields of it are grown and there is an industry for it. It is taxed and government programs are funded by it. There is nothing different about growing fields of marijuana and then letting the same cigarette companies be in charge of rolling joints. We would get better quality control and turn it into a type of liquor (EG sold only at certain state licensed stores). And since this would take place on such a huge scale cigarette companies could charge a lot less than illegal drug dealers and run them out of business. Grant it there would still be coke, heroine, meth, etc. but there is still all that plus illegal marijuana as is. Why are we NOT making taxable income off of this stuff? It would create jobs and another source of income for the government. As for crimes, we already have OVI/DUI laws in place. Just modify them to include legal pot. Some states also already have smoking in public laws as well as drinking in public laws. Again modify them to include pot and TADA! As for people who don't think this wouldn't hurt drug dealers... please this would be like taking soda out of fast food chains. It would hurt crime, badly. If you took the "Pays" out of crime only exists because it pays, there would be a huge drop in pot dealers freeing up police to investigate things that actually matter. It would seriously make money and save money from all of the freed up resources we use to police it to begin with. Only hold up is the religious zealots who are probably secret users already. Conservatives need to pull the stick out their asses and come off their high horses already.
posted by Mastercheddaar at 8:09 AM on December 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wasn't mexico sort of a shit hole prior to the whole drug trade thing?

Almost as bad as the shit hole you live in now.
posted by telstar at 8:58 AM on December 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


> Hey Congress, we're going to save some brown people's lives by legalizing marijuana. Oh, I'm sorry, what's that?
> You don't give a fuck about brown people? Or poor people? Or even the people in your own district? Oh so you like
> it when people go to prison for petty offenses? Oh okay sorry dudes sorry I bothered you carry on with the war
> and deficit spending and stuff.

...while for our part, so we won't be personally contributing to the problem, we're going to save some brown people's lives by quitting the weed and blow right now, cold turkey. Oh, I'm sorry, what's that?

Actually I have noticed one change of 420 behavior among the white smokers I know who are educated and progressive enough to be aware of Mexico and care about its problems. Every one of 'em, every single one (I was so struck by this that I started keeping a log the first I heard it) is now saying "It's cool, man, this isn't Mexican weed, it's medical marijuana. I have a contact.") It's the New Dope Lie.
posted by jfuller at 9:10 AM on December 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've said this before, but; I still wish there was a way of demanding an answer to "Why is marijuana still illegal?" from our politicians.

Seriously. At this point, I think they should have to defend the war on drugs beyond the circular "We are enforcing laws because drugs are illegal". There are a non-trivial number of studies which have proven pot to be less harmful and addictive than any number of currently legal things, and in light of this evidence, what are we not allowed to expect a reasonable response to an uncomplicated question.

But we seem to be so entrenched in keeping-things-the-way-they-are that it seems impossible to ever even have the conversation. They just won't touch it.
posted by quin at 9:12 AM on December 29, 2009


Every one of 'em, every single one (I was so struck by this that I started keeping a log the first I heard it) is now saying "It's cool, man, this isn't Mexican weed, it's medical marijuana. I have a contact.") It's the New Dope Lie.

Could you expand on this? Do you think that it's impossible to tell the difference between Mexican and medical-grade marijuana? Is that why it's a lie? Or is it a lie because you think Mexican cartels are behind dispensary supplies?
posted by Bernt Pancreas at 9:37 AM on December 29, 2009


At this point, I think they should have to defend the war on drugs beyond the circular "We are enforcing laws because drugs are illegal". There are a non-trivial number of studies which have proven pot to be less harmful and addictive than any number of currently legal things, and in light of this evidence, what are we not allowed to expect a reasonable response to an uncomplicated question.

The admin doesn't have to provide a non-pat answer to you, when a pat answer works just fine for the already-cowed populace at large. And the next journalist to get the mic doesn't have to throw the unanswered-question back, and won't, if enough people are interested in whatever other gossipy bit of trivia he was planning to ask instead. Of course, the gov isn't a passive conveyer of information here, so the right admin goes a long way. But not all the way, because people have already swallowed and continue to propagate this and numerous other lies.

The problem, as usual, lies with your fellow citizen (and mine).
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:08 AM on December 29, 2009


...while for our part, so we won't be personally contributing to the problem, we're going to save some brown people's lives by quitting the weed and blow right now, cold turkey. Oh, I'm sorry, what's that?

Well, you can see this as a policy problem, or you can personally blame people who smoke weed for the problems in Mexico. Which is more likely to produce results?

By the way, not nearly as much weed crosses the border as used to. A lot of production is local now. It's too much hassle to cross the border anymore, and they make more money by weight with cocaine, speed and heroin.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:15 AM on December 29, 2009


Put your money where your mouth is
posted by jcruelty at 10:39 AM on December 29, 2009


The dude who was executed in China today was apparently part of an operation to smuggle weed into Canada. Into Canada?!?

How the hell does that work out for them? We've got bushels of weed in Canada, why the hell would there be any need, let alone profit, for foreign weed?
posted by five fresh fish at 10:58 AM on December 29, 2009


Wasn't mexico sort of a shit hole prior to the whole drug trade thing?

It's not now?

Actually, since NAFTA trade has opened up. This can be seen in different ways, but that probably has a lot more to do with changes in Mexico's economy than the drug trade, per se.


Nono, that's not what I'm saying. The headline implies that removing profit motive from the drug trade will hurt the cartels, and thus help "save mexico."

I'm not-so-cleverly suggesting that the gangs/cartels/bad guys will simply move on to something else. I'm under the impression that they were a problem prior to the drug trade. Take that away, and they'll continue to be bad guys, just with something else serving as their profits.

The problem seems to be that of deep rooted corruption, not peoples desire to get high. It's not like bad guys will wake up and go "Shit.. I can't make money doing this anymore.. I guess I'll go to college!"
posted by rulethirty at 2:03 PM on December 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


yes.
posted by tehloki at 4:51 PM on December 29, 2009


The higher ups won't. But for the grunts, if the choices are deal drugs and get a bit of money and probably shot or go to college, get an education, and get money without getting shot, well...
posted by Zalzidrax at 6:39 PM on December 29, 2009


Oooo! Those icky brown people are so corrupt. I can say that as I bask here in the virgin pure USA, where "driven snow" looks kinda dirty compared to my congressman. And criminals? Simply unknown here in the crystal white sunshine of the most cleanest US of A. (It's all because of our Nordic purity.)

Once the drugs cross the border, fine upstanding USians know what to do with it. We pay high prices to get it off the street and then we flush it down the toilet. I wear my junior g-man badge while I flush mine. Buying all these drugs and flushing them is starting to put a big strain on my budget. But my Nordic purity compels me all the same!
posted by telstar at 7:28 PM on December 29, 2009


rulethirty: I'm under the impression that they were a problem prior to the drug trade.

Nowhere on the same scale. Drugs are their most dependable product. The products are consumables which need to be resupplied on a regular basis to a small client base and not-so-infrequently to a much larger base. And there's no legal competition. Other potential sources of income aren't as lucrative. Products with greater demand & turnover such as food, clothing, media, electronics..etc are a core part of the legal economy, and the rest like guns are a "narrow" market i.e. infrequent purchases by a smaller base. So, the kingpins probably won't accept their fate graciously, but the brute realites of the marketplace mean that anything else is a distant second-best squeeze. ..unless the cartels hijack significant parts of the legal economy, but would be a hostile transaction, unlike drugs where the buyers need & thus want dealers around to procure product.
posted by daksya at 8:48 PM on December 29, 2009


Guys, If we legalized weed, people would smoke it!
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 11:29 PM on December 29, 2009


Put your money where your mouth is

Buy local?
posted by dunkadunc at 11:37 AM on December 30, 2009


Well, I have a slightly biased opinion! Medical Marijuana is good! Prescription pills are bad!

Since the passage of Proposition 215, otherwise known as the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, Californians with serious medical conditions have been able to use medicinal marijuana legally. These conditions include cancer, arthritis, HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, chronic pain, anorexia, migraine headaches, spasticity, glaucoma, and any other illness for which marijuana provides relief. Patients suffering from these and other conditions may have intolerable side effects to medications or no improvement from conventional treatment. Other patients worry about the addictive nature and negative long-term effects of their current medications and are looking for a natural alternative. Marijuana has helped hundreds of thousands of patients and can help you too.


The compassionate and knowledgeable physicians at Marijuana Medicine Evaluation Centers can help you decide if medicinal marijuana is right for you. Our offices provide a safe and supportive environment that is designed to give you the most positive experience. We believe that you should have the right to choose the best medication for your condition. Call for a consultation now.


If you live in Ca. and would like to get your medical marijuana card call 800.268.4420
posted by muchomas21 at 2:31 PM on January 15, 2010


I'm all for medical (and non-medical) marijuana, but aren't you tooting your own horn a bit much? First MeFi comment and all.
posted by dunkadunc at 2:45 PM on January 15, 2010


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