WASHINGTON — Today, high-ranking officials from the United States and Mexico concluded a three-day conference meant to outline ways the two nations could reduce the illicit drug trade-associated violence that continues to plague the U.S.-Mexican border. Unfortunately, officials concluded their talks without making any reference to the most sensible and guaranteed strategy for reducing that violence: removing marijuana from the criminal market, and depriving drug cartels of their main source of income and strife.
“The only solution to the current crisis is to tax and regulate marijuana,” said Aaron Houston, director of government relations for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Once again, Mexican and U.S. officials are ignoring the fact that the cartels get 70 percent of their profits from marijuana. It’s time to face the reality that the U.S.’s marijuana prohibition is fueling a bloodbath in Mexico and the United States.”
The Obama administration has said it will provide the Mexican government with a $1.4 billion aid package to combat the Mexican drug cartels, in addition to seeking $310 million in its 2011 budget for drug enforcement aid to Mexico.
“It is illogical, at best, to continue throwing money at this failed policy,” Houston said. “The government will never eliminate the demand for marijuana, but it can put an end to the monopoly drug cartels currently hold on America’s largest cash crop. Lifting marijuana prohibition would take away the cartels’ largest source of income and the main reason for the horrifically brutal violence perpetrated by rival drug groups.”
Last year, the Mexican border city Juarez recorded 2,670 homicides. Among the growing numbers of voices calling for an end to marijuana prohibition in order to stem the violence are former Mexican presidents Vicente Fox and Ernesto Zedillo, as well as the former leaders of Brazil and Colombia.
With more than 124,000 members and supporters nationwide, the Marijuana Policy Project is the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States. MPP believes that the best way to minimize the harm associated with marijuana is to regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol. For more information, please visit www.mpp.org.