Loading

FoxNews.com: Are U.S. Pot Laws The Root Cause Of Mexican Drug Violence?

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director March 17, 2010

    UPDATE!!! UPDATE!!! Want to make sure that your members of Congress get the message that the U.S. drug war fuels Mexican violence? Then check out my commentary today in The Hill — Congress’ insider newspaper and website. Read my commentary here, and please leave feedback on their board. Your members of Congress will see it, I promise.

    It was less than one year ago when acting U.S. DEA administrator Michelle Leonhart publicly declared that the escalating violence on the U.S./Mexico border should be viewed as a sign of the “success” of America’s drug war strategies.

    Our view is that the violence we have been seeing is a signpost of the success our very courageous Mexican counterparts are having,” said Michele Leonhart, who was recently nominated by President Obama to be the agency’s full time director. “The cartels are acting out like caged animals, because they are caged animals.”

    Well, if the DEA’s chief talking head thought that some 6,300 drug cartel-related murders in 2008 was an indication of progress, one can only imagine that she believes that this weekend’s south-of-the-border killing spree — which included the murder of a pregnant U.S. official and members of her family — must be downright victorious.

    To rest of us, however, these acts are nothing short of a senseless tragedy — a tragedy made all that much more heart-wrenching because it is U.S. policy that is helping to fuel this violence.

    As I wrote last year in the commentary, “How to End Mexico’s Deadly Drug War”:

    Wire-service reports estimate that Mexico’s drug lords employ over 100,000 soldiers — approximately as many as the Mexican army — and that the cartels’ wealth, intimidation, and influence extend to the highest echelons of law enforcement and government. Where do the cartels get their unprecedented wealth and power? By trafficking in illicit drugs — primarily marijuana — over the border into the United States.

    The U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy …  says that more than 60 percent of the profits reaped by Mexican drug lords are derived from the exportation and sale of cannabis to the American market. … (By comparison, only about 28 percent of their profits are derived from the distribution of cocaine, and less than 1 percent comes from trafficking methamphetamine.) … Government officials estimate that approximately half the marijuana consumed in the United States originates from outside its borders, and they have identified Mexico as far and away America’s largest pot provider.

    If the Obama administration wishes to once and for all reduce this unprecedented wave of Mexican drug-gang violence, then it needs to remove the drug lord’s primary source of income — and that’s marijuana trafficking.

    Despite 70+ years of criminal prohibition in the United States (and countless billions of dollars spent attempting to interdict marijuana at our southern border), America remains the primary destination for Mexican pot. Why? Because like it or not, Americans consume cannabis; in fact, Americans lead the world in their consumption of pot.

    According to a 2007 economic assessment, U.S. citizens spend $113 billion dollars annually to consume an estimated 31.1 million pounds of pot. According to the federal government, over 100 million Americans have used marijuana; over one in ten Americans do so regularly. In short, criminal marijuana prohibition does not, and will not, reduce demand. So then it’s time to regulate the supply.

    It is time to remove the production and distribution of marijuana out of the hands of violent criminal enterprises and into the hands of licensed businesses, and the only way to do that is through legalization.

    Or, I suppose, we could just keep on doing what we’ve been doing.

    On Monday I joined Judge Andrew Napolitano on FoxNews.com to discuss how marijuana legalization — not increasing levels of government prohibition — would quell the violence surrounding the trafficking of Mexican marijuana. You can watch the video here.

    The Judge ‘gets it;’ let’s hope that the administration will one day ‘get it’ too.

    90 Responses to “FoxNews.com: Are U.S. Pot Laws The Root Cause Of Mexican Drug Violence?”

    1. Alex says:

      Yes, Obama certainly is defiling the Constitution which is why everyone is calling for his impeachment…or not. What proof of this do you? I think you have none except that you are buying into the fear that the evil Commi-muslim is out to destroy God, grandma, and apple pie. Ask any European if they think Obama is remotely Socialist and they will laugh in your face because he is way more towards the center than people give him credit. We live in a two-party system and if you think either Republicans or Democrats care what you think or actually do what their voters are asking of them I feel you are mistaken. Rich CEO´s and elitist control both parties. The American people have lived in a puppet democracy for quite some time. Obama ain´t the problem. The fact that you think Obama is going to get rid of elections is evidence enough you have no idea what you are talking about and have replaced fear with rational thought. You must think the Patriot Act was the greatest thing since sliced bread.

    2. Jeedi says:

      Vietvet said:”The people are waking up to what his [President Obama] agenda truly is and legalization of pot is the last thing on his mind. He is here strictly to finish destroying our country and is so far doing a very fine job of it. At the rate he is defiling our constitution if it is allowed to go on unchecked for the full four years we won’t have to worry about him being elected for a second term…”

      I’m sorry friend but you got it all wrong. Obama has done more for cannabis reform than anybody since Carter. He is trying to save an economy that has been deteriorating/abused for decades. Only someone new to the issues would see President Obama as the problem. This economic mess back goes back to at least before Nixon. Now we got an excess of prisons and law enforcement. And you think that America’s first black president is going to get away with legalizing pot? Really people? If Obama just outright legalized it tomorrow, he would be crucified even more so than he is today by all the conservatives and the naive. And this would be disastrous for the country and surely destroy it!

      To legalize weed all over America overnight would create a huge economic blip with a redistribution of funds away from law enforcement into a legal cannabis market place. There would be thousands of layoffs overnight as cops, for example, enter an already high unemployed job market. This transition would hurt the economy before it helps it. And this is the last thing Obama needs right now with the greatest recession going on. So Obama’s, at least, recognition of medical marijuana tolerance is a step in the right direction. Since the solution to legal marijuana is — One State at a Time.

      And then kiss goodbye health care reform anytime soon. Those ‘out of touch’ politicians who

    3. claygooding says:

      The drug warriors have just announced,through a foreign
      news source,that “drugged” driving is a major problem on America’s highways. Now they need a really bad accident to blame marijuana for to help convince congress to buy the new technology that only checks for recent marijuana use,so they can spread them all over the US. I would not put it past them too stage an accident. It will have to involve a school bus full of kids or else it won’t be horrific enough for them to get the money to buy the new technology from a company where an ex-DEA administrator just happens to work. Buckle your seatbelts people,the ride is fixing to get bumpy.

    4. The current drug war in Mexico will go down as one of the gravest failures in history. Tens of thousands have already died due to murders and massacres by drug gangs. Why do we continue to empower them?

      What we have is a schizophrenic drug policy that is out of touch with reality. It makes no sense that our drug laws should be harsher or bring harsher results than the drugs themselves. America needs to butt out of Mexico’s business.

    5. Brew says:

      I’m with the Judge on this one, I don’t want the government taxing and regulating weed. I just want it legalized period. It’s none of the governments business what we do in the privacy of our own homes involving our only our body. I’d accept taxing and regulating since that appears to be the only chance of legalizing, but my ‘morality’ should not be something the majority gets to decide, as long as it’s not affecting anyone else.

    6. My Friend’s, we’re all so at odd’s, Aren’t we? the retrospect of so many people live’s lost in a war not ever to be won. As 5000 on going year’s perplex the mind, so also does the billion’s of mind’s understanding, the surface of our ground, that we all walk, laugh and play, upon. And could not a real positive list grow real strong, when all the little human’s pull their resoarce’s togethor, so as in responce to the game, a lott’s of little humman’s can unite this common purpose and create a giant.I so understand the difference’s amoung us, though when you really see, that in reality, the ground is where we all find ourselve’s, when you just look out into the sky, and really become something interlinked with all the face’seen in the world here with “yes”, YOU.

    7. I really think that I like to submit portion’s of my mind with people working “Evolution” into, our rather everyday “MUNDANE” program, of mis-management, we’re all currently living under. Sometime’s it really make’s me wonder, all the beautiful thing’s, event’s,and such… that we’ve all been missing out on, “DUE TO THIS WAR ON DRUGS”. It seem’s to me that, what our current leader’s believe to be progress on, really is Quite the opposite ,when you consider the impact it is having on the American FAMILY UNIT”S, and You might call thier model of thiking: “THE CREATOR”S OF TOUGH LOVE IDOLOGIES” Well the problem is that our Our government, and their so called seperated attitude’s, in regards with the belief’s in divided politic’s, that really have no Idea of what’s up on the street’s. For people in Washington, it’s all about lookin good,because you don’t want to lose your invite to all them really Killer parties(if ya know what I mean). Beside’s they got the good bud’s, while the rest of us is under their NEGATIVE SPELL OF POWER. SYSTEMIZE OURSELVE”S IS THE SOLUTION WHEN WE come togethor, even the one’s who smoke in the closet, WE can do ANYTHING, even have some killer PARTIES–420 = the time has come to connect = benefit as we all rize, LIKE A MORNING STAR, covering the steet’s of AMERICA………..

    8. John McMahan says:

      So who are we to make a law against or for a plant that god has made so abundant? Just because some believe that they killed god when they killed Jesus does not mean that they can kill what god has made.

    9. DdC says:

      The violence from the cartels is solely the responsibility of the DEA, just as the violence anyone commits is solely their own responsibility. The Mexican government prevented violence trying to legalize small amounts and was stopped by US thuggery, same as they threatened Canada. Same as they maintain this dysfunction everywhere. For profits. Saying the Mexicans are more violent shooting innocents that the DEA wrestling Polio patients to the floor to pillage their medicine is far more barbaric. Mexicans aren’t attacking, they’re defending. Mexicans don’t come here and befriend us just to take us down and cage us. That’s the DEA. Like when Carter and Rayguns sprayed Paraquat, as they now do to Colombians with Agent Green. A milder version of Agent Orange. It’s sick to deny the US record of violence around the planet and lay blame on Mexican growers. Or is that brainwashing so good you think everyone should just obey the US Industrialists legislation behind the scenes pulling strings? Remove the lies the violence stops.

      The Mexican growers are defending their existence from a group that lies to remain in power and make huge profits keeping individual citizens from using a safer alternative. This DEA war is based on Nixon’s lies, with no physical evidence to make it a schedule#1 drug, let alone keep it there with the research and anecdotal evidence obtainable. Now 40 years later the Cartels are interwoven into the infrastructure. The Violence is caused by the war, not the soldiers. They only follow orders. If the US didn’t interfere with the Mexicans they would have a farm crop to sell, not contraband to smuggle. It’s not the Mexican Cartels selling Ganja, it’s the people buying it because that is what they choose. Public servants as opposed to pigs eating taxes to keep competition off the market.

      You know what they say about appeasers! Cartels are buzzwords for people the government deems unworthy. They have provided 100 times more for the poor than the government. Hospitals to housing. If the US let Mexicans grow hemp they wouldn’t have to migrate for scab wages. Americans should stop excusing the Fascism by blaming those defending themselves. The violence can’t be stopped with more violence or with denial. Removing Nixon’s lie is the only viable solution. Stop the Gossip!

      “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile
      – hoping it will eat him last”

      ~ Churchill

      Are US Pot Laws the Root Cause of Mexican Drug Violence? thread

      “…the primary reason to outlaw marijuana
      is its effect on the degenerate races.”

      – Harry J. Anslinger – America’s 1st Drug Czar (FDR – JFK)

      Nixon lied to Outlaw Ganja

    10. DdC says:

      “Not only are we here to protect the public from vicious criminals in the street but also to protect the public from harmful ideas.”
      ~ Robert Ingersoll, then Director of the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, in a column by Jack Anderson in the Washington Post, June 24, 1972, p. 31 (Ingersoll became the first director of the DEA in 1974)

      Charles Bowden: Lessons of the Dead in Mexico
      Charles Bowden on “The War Next Door
      excerpts, link has full transcript Tuesday, March 16, 2010
      Charles Bowden, reporter who has extensively covered the drug violence in Mexico. He is author of the forthcoming book, Murder City: Ciudad Juárez and the Global Economy’s New Killing Fields. His latest article for High Country News is called The War Next Door.

      What happened is what happens every weekend: death. What is different, or was the reason you’re calling me, is because US citizens were killed, who worked for the consulate.

      What we’re doing is what the—you know, we have three policies that affect Mexico. One, we have the free trade agreement, which has bankrupted small farmers in the country and destroyed small industry in the country. Two, we have an immigration policy which means a Mexican would have to live 150 years to get a visa to move to the United States, which has unleashed the largest human migration on earth. And three, we have our war on drugs, which over the course of forty years has made drugs in our country of higher quality more available and enriched a bunch of criminals in Mexico and the United States. That’s our policy.

      We’re spending $30 to $40 billion a year on narcotics officers in this country. Every state in the union, if you get out of the house and drive, is now studded with little prisons, some private. They’re all dependent on the—on laws outlawing drugs. The income from drugs in Mexico exceeds all other sources of foreign currency, except possibly oil, and that’s debatable. In other words, if President Calderon succeeded in his claimed goal of eradicating the drug industry in Mexico, Mexico would collapse in a minute. continued

    11. A rope leash says:

      If it ever becomes legal, it will be because the powers know the people are very angry.

      Sedation is the cure for sedition.

    12. Lea says:

      Not sure what will end this travesty directed towards American’s who only want a safer alternative to alcohol.
      Arturo Sarukhan, the Mexican Ambassador to the U.S. also believes that the violence in Mexico is a positive sign that the war on drugs is being won.

      How these idiots that support prohibition can sleep at night is beyond me anymore and the only comfort I get anymore is that I truly believe they will pay a price for their misguided and stupid stance.

    13. Lea says:

      Jeedi: I’d love to see thousands of cops who have abused human rights lose their jobs overnight.
      It would also be lovely to see Obama get his head out of his arm pit, he must love the stink that’s coming from it.

      One state at a time, right, as the DEA, judges, and police continue to arrest, prosecute, KILL and put good people in prison. Brilliant!

    14. Garret says:

      How can one say that more violence equals success? The only success will be when Cannabis is RE-legalized and we end this war on American citizens. Stop the racist drug war!

    15. Brett says:

      Here is what I posted on the message board

      Get real Congress and do your jobs. You are supposed to listen to us. Not force your moral values upon society. Do what we tell you or we will fire every last one of you. We are tired of living with this wasteful, dangerous policy that does nothing but waste billions every year, kill innocent people, and jail hundreds of thousands more. Do something about this NOW or we will take the matter into our own hands since special interest groups seem to be able to buy your corruption very easily.

      Sincerely, just one of your 300 million bosses demanding action

    16. Ryan says:

      Great interview!

    17. Stinky says:

      Here is what I would have LIKED to post on the message board… seems they have the power to NOT LISTEN to what makes sense down to a science – effectively ignoring an important injustice.

      I like to pick my battles – and thanks to the internet – this is easy; due to the massive amounts of credible information available. The more that I read the more I feel that a big mistake was made a looong time ago. And it’s sad how even though these folks are dead – that initiated what we were brain washed into believing about a plant that would provide for a wide array of GREEN products. Products like bio-degradable plastics that are 10x as strong as steel.

      Somebody is going to end this… and when it does, any representatives involved in making it happen are going to be heros to the planet. But, at the same time – it’s takes a fair bit of character to step up and admit that for 70 years… we’ve been wrong.

      I don’t know if I will see it in my life time but I’m willing to place a large sum of money on the fact that history will show that as a society we kinda missed an opportunity and instead destroyed a portion of our society, by labeling them as lepers and incarcerating them while letting murders and rapists run free. Yeah… I guess that is quite a bit to “Man-up” to.

      Every chemical that MAN makes as medicine carries with it the promise of damage to the body and could be FATAL are sold OTC. It makes me sick to my stomach to think about how kids are huffing paint and aerosols to get high… and we are worried about WEED? Do you realize (are you enlightened? – you are about to be), that I personally, at 205 lbs would have to eat over 68 lbs of canabis… yes… I said EAT! …this is the lethal amount – seriously.

      As an Marine – I have seen my fair share of violence, and honestly… I am disgusted by it. And so I can’t for the life of me figure out why anybody would make such a fuss over a stupid plant. And in the process – endanger innocent peoples lives via the resulting violence. It’s disgusting is what it is… and it will end.

      I guess I’ll close by saying… I wonder who the hero will be?

      Semper Fi!!

    18. The equation of a border is a frontline, Frontline’s equate into battlefields, battlefields equate into explosion’s and the ripping of flesh, our mortal existesce here on earth. Ripped apart into a billion direction’s of misunderstandings, and then you understand Hellraiser, a thousand wires connected to his body, pulling him in a thousand different direction’s. Boarders, well Amigo’s, they exist within all of our minds, inside of our hearts, though we escape this tradgedy in the “WE” concept of Us all.
      Stand up, Get up. YOU”VE got to FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHT. Bobby Marley…Sometime’es, times get lost within our live’s, times when perspective gets lost, even so tangled up that we cannot even feel comfort with even our own family tree. I think that we are living in these times, where some feel like every thing is fine, and then you have those who feel things are not fine. Personally, I’ll stand in the middle, with my fiddle, with my Knife so that I can widdle down to earth, the billion fable’s corraled in the stable’s. We as people do what we as people believe that we should do. Some do it better than other’s, but right now people are dying, Mother’s are holding their offspring while their babies blood flow’s to a place that most of our leader’s today, know nothing about, The street.
      When evaluating this line between Mexico, and the United states, Ask yourself, is this effecting my life, even though I am not there? Now envision yourself their and on the wrong side of the line. That would be difficult in my personal opinion, and my reasoning is that, a serious miscommunication in the understanding of one another is very real, and I’m hearing alot of people saying, that they are living in reality, without first understanding who we really are, what we really stand for, and how we go about our daily live’s in order to define the many different realities that exist within each one of our head’s. Life demands of us, to be more than just pothead’s, life demands that, one by one, we find the common ground and network it, to establish peace of mind or just continue watching your mother, your Father , a Friend, a Poet, an Artist, a child , die.
      Perhaps a war on the boarder does not personally disrupt your life, or your lifestyle, But when you consider that you are but a reflection of me, Like I am a reflection of you; the bigger picture plays like a movie inside of your mind. War moves just like a rushing fludd, and in this war on drug’s- bullet’s and bomb’s don’t discriminate, but just kill what make’s Humanity. Each other,and the one’s you love.
      Is this your war? I say that it is, It’s all of Ours, and the live’s lost is all of our responcibility, and that is a decrepid thought…..Don’t you think?

    19. Candice says:

      Question: Since the drug war is known that it will NEVER be won, then what is Gil K, the drug czar’s job?

    20. legalnovember says:

      Can you die from marijuana? Not unless you live in Mexico.

      /am i doin it right?

    21. I Hope Im Wrong says:

      No, Obama will not legalize marijuana, it wouldn’t look good on him to be the first african american president to legalize it. He was soft on the issue of medical marijuana while campaigning for president to get the votes, the same with gay marriage prop 8. Once elected for president he turned his back on the gay community and the marijuana community. Marijuana smokers and the gay community put together is a large sum of votes. Wake up america. We dont have Obama full support./// Another thing just wait for the NEW REEFER MADNESS APPROACH wich is gonna make the California November 2nd legalization election a failure. Wake Up America,( California dont put your hopes up)

    22. Longtime Puffer says:

      Viet, you say Obama isn’t qualified to be president. What exactly do you mean by that? He’s the first intelligent prexy we’ve had since. . . Clinton! Bush was a frat-boy–and a not very intelligent one at that–whose daddy greased the skids for him.

      You’ve also used the classic rhetoric: Obama’s “agenda.” What would you say his “agenda” is? Is he going to turn us all into raving socialists?!? First of all, if you think he’s a socialist, you have no clue what a socialist is. Second, Bush’s daddy was a former CIA Director, for God’s sake! Were you worried about Bush’s “agenda”?

      I’ve also got news for you. To this day there’s only ONE country in the WORLD that allows open MJ smoking–Holland. And Holland is about as SOCIALIST as a country can get. I’ve visited Amsterdam twice–that socialist den of inquity, ha! That was the first time I truly learned what freedom–FREEDOM, Viet–feels like–and I experienced it in a SOCIALIST country!

    23. […] anyone comments, yes I am well aware that the host — who was clearly favorable to NORML’s position — did not give us equal time. Then again, former General McCaffrey is a regular consultant to […]

    24. Mike says:

      pot is not responsible. Our government’s lack of support of our laws is responsible for the problems our citizens and state governments are having.

    25. […] critics against the so-called ‘war on drugs.’ In recent broadcasts, he has profiled how U.S. marijuana prohibition is fueling violence and murder in Mexico, and has called for the arrest and prosecution of several police officers involved in a violent […]

    26. Southern California Norml Commitee on Tax Cannabis 2010 holds skype call with Tax Tannabis 2010 Office…

      I found your entry interesting thus I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

    27. Southern California Norml begins process to rewrite city charter in San Diego to allow medical marijuana….

      I found your entry interesting thus I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

    28. […] critics against the so-called ‘war on drugs.’ In recent broadcasts, he has profiled how U.S. marijuana prohibition is fueling violence and murder in Mexico, and has called for the arrest and prosecution of several police officers involved in a violent […]

    29. Senate supports downgrading marijuana possession …

      I found your entry interesting thus I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

    30. Southern California Norml Chat Room…

      I found your entry interesting thus I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

    31. San Diego patient federally charged with possession needs court support on Wednesday…

      I found your entry interesting thus I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

    32. […] critics against the so-called ‘war on drugs.’ In recent broadcasts, he has profiled how U.S. marijuana prohibition is fueling violence and murder in Mexico, and has called for the arrest and prosecution of several police officers involved in a violent […]

    33. Southern California NORML meeting…

      I found your entry interesting thus I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

    34. curmudgeon says:

      I was gonna vote for someone who was running on a legalization platform, but then I got stoned forgot about the election.

    35. […] to an article written by NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano,the prohibition of marijuana is costing the united […]

    36. […] der derzeitigen Drogenpolitik in sehr anschaulicher Weise durchleuchtet. Der Text stammt von Paul Armentano, NORML Vorstand, und wurde von tribble ins Deutsche […]

    37. […] -Reformers need to keep directing public and media attention to the serious de-stabilization of the country’s borders created by the tremendous illegal succor of Cannabis Prohibition in countries like Mexico. […]

    38. […] -Reformers need to keep directing public and media attention to the serious de-stabilization of the country’s borders created by the tremendous illegal succor of Cannabis Prohibition in countries likeMexico. […]

    39. […] -Reformers need to keep directing public and media attention to the serious de-stabilization of the country’s borders created by the tremendous illegal succor of Cannabis Prohibition in countries like Mexico. […]

    40. Anonymous says:

      It looks like we have to wait for a while I guess. Hope it won’t be more than a few days though.

    Leave a Reply