Mexican President considers legalization to end Drug War

August 23rd, 2010

It has been four years since Mexican President Felipe Calderón ordered 4,000 troops to his home county of Michoacán to restore order and break down on the drug trade. Since then, violence between the Mexican Government and organized crime has escalated, with reportedly 28,000 Mexican citizens killed since Calderon first took office. With polls showing public fatigue of this so-called “war on drugs,” Calderón has announced that he would consider a new tactic to financially cripple the drug cartels: legalization.

With his predecessor Vicente Fox supporting him, Calderón argues that the basis for his proposition would be that it would significantly reduce funds towards organized crime while raising revenue for the government. The State Department estimates that Mexican drug cartels make anywhere from $20 billion-$30 billion off drug trafficking alone, with marijuana comprising of 60 percent of that income.

Should Mexico take a step towards legalization, that value, which is mostly used for purchasing weapons and bribing police officers and politicians, has the potential to reduce by $12 billion. Fox even argued that curbing the illegal drug sales would likewise curb drug-related violence, which would attract more tourists and generate more revenue.

However, many pundits feel that in order for Mexico to make this grand leap forward, it needs an important partner to take a likewise step: The United States. Only 14 states have approved laws legalizing marijuana for medical use, and an estimated 70 percent of drugs from foreign sources originate from Mexico. As of August 23, few Mexican citizens approve of the proposition, with an approximate 30 percent in support. With so few in favor, many are looking towards the United States to set an example on the matter.

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