Blog La Nacion, Chile
The United States and Marijuana
By Raul Sohr
Translated By Jorge Sarasola
23 November 2012
Edited by Jonathan Douglas
Chile - Blog La Nacion - Original Article (Spanish)
Legalization can have a heavy impact on Mexico, where half of marijuana currently comes from. Some studies made on the cost of local production of marijuana in the United States show that the Mexican cartels would lose three-fourths of the market when faced with competition.
In addition to re-electing Barack Obama on Nov. 6, the states of Colorado and Washington also approved a law which allows the recreational use of marijuana. It was something that could be anticipated: In 2001, a national poll showed that half of Americans wanted to legalize the drug. Moreover, 70 percent of voters supported its medicinal use.
Those who advocate for the legalization of this drug affirm that, contrary to tobacco, there has not been a link established between it and lung cancer or other diseases. Apparently, people who are “high” are less likely to behave aggressively than those affected by alcohol. However, it has been demonstrated that driving after consuming marijuana doubles the probability of a fatal accident. There is also evidence that people who suffer from certain psychic illnesses, like schizophrenia, can worsen their condition.
The United States could take advantage of the opportunity to evaluate the impact of a “tolerance policy” in these two states, where the citizens are willing to allow the personal possession of almost 30 grams of marijuana. An ex-judge from the Supreme Court referred to these situations as “labs for democracy.” The cost of repressive politics is high: 12.4 percent of those imprisoned for drug consumption were due to marijuana. This means 11,600 people in prison, which costs roughly $26,000 annually to the state.
Legalization can have a heavy impact on Mexico, which is where half of marijuana currently comes from. It is calculated that narks make around $2 billion out of weed. It’s a very similar income to cocaine — $2.4 billion — though much more profitable. A group of 18 members of Parliament who are in favor of legalization wrote a letter to President Obama: “The citizens of Washington and Colorado have decided that marijuana has to be regulated just like alcohol, with strong and efficient norms for its production, distribution and sale, in combination with strict laws which prohibit its sale to underage people or to drive under its effects. The voters chose to eliminate the illegal market of marijuana controlled by criminals and cartels.”* Some studies made on the cost of local production of marijuana in the United States shows that the Mexican cartels would lose three-fourths of the market when faced with competition.
For the moment, there is great uncertainty as to how Obama’s government will take action on the matter. The consumption of marijuana is still a federal crime; governmental agencies have been intransigent even with those who produce it for medicinal ends. Nonetheless, in many cases the medical end is an excuse for recreational consumption. What happens in the United States will be followed with great attention because in terms of consumption — including drugs — the Americans tend to impose their norm.
Editor’s Note: This quote, accurately translated, could not be verified.
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