On Nov. 2, a century after marijuana was declared illegal in California, grass will be legal in that state, the richest and most liberal of the United States. The one where the Mexican Revolution awakened antipathies at the beginning of the 20th century more than anything over the possibility of expropriating the lands of North American businesses, one of which was none other than that of Mr. Hearst, journalism magnate and creator of sensationalism, who was portrayed by Orson Welles in Citizen Kane.
The image of the drunk, lazy, cheating Mexican was manufactured in his newspapers and served up to lead the battle so that after 1937 marijuana was banned in the U.S. In 1962, Washington succeeded when the United Nations Conference on Narcotic Drugs deemed it an illegal narcotic which did not stop it from being, along with opium and cocaine, the drug consumed by U.S. forces to fight in Vietnam. And from there it came to us; American veterans associated with coastal smugglers were the founding fathers of drug trafficking in this country. From being consumed during a war, marijuana became the military objective of the War on Drugs ordered in September 1989 by Bush's father — two months after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Since then, the drug has been the substitute for communism, the Russian bear, the Soviet threat. President Barco ratified the Extradition Treaty with the U.S. The response by drug dealers was violent: bombs in supermarkets, planes, dwellings. The waves of explosions have not ceased. Extradition obligated drug trafficking to a tacit pact: guerrilla causalities in exchange for the precious shipments. Paramilitarism took over the entire country. The guerrilla was strengthened by the illegality of marijuana, cocaine and heroin. The cost of the war against drug trafficking, guerrillas and common crime shot up; the nation, which had become a machine of repression, had to assume that cost.
Everything decent is susceptible to becoming a commodity, an object for extortion, food for war. Chainsaws, gas bombs, land mines, indiscriminate bombings, kidnappings, false positives, forced disappearances — everything we all know and want to forget should be credited to the account of the outlawing of the drug.
The War on Drugs — futile and bloody — has created a crisis in Mexico. The figures are frightening: Between 2006 and 2010, 28,000 murders have been documented. The increased violence is associated with the army coming to the fray. Mexico exported 20,000 tons of marijuana to the U.S. The blood threatens to cross the border and become an internal conflict. In Oakland, marijuana has already been legalized for pragmatic and ideological reasons. In California, which has a huge fiscal deficit, 56 percent of the citizens are in favor of legalizing marijuana. If the referendum is approved, any citizen could possess 28 grams and grow up to two square meters of grass. The state could receive around 1.2 trillion dollars a year in taxes. If the November referendum approves the legalization, President Obama will have a tough nut to crack, although the issue has not gone beyond the legislative elections to be held on the same day. Without a doubt — whether the vote is won or lost — the pendulum has begun to move against the absurd prohibition of the drug and, therefore, it is hoped that war, at least our own, will weaken.