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Thursday, September 24, 2009

The War on Drugs Conference is Leaning Towards Legalization

War on Drugs Conference Legalization

If the United States were to legalize marijuana it would cripple the Mexican drug cartels severely. At least that is the hope and belief of the panelists at the War on Drugs conference last Tuesday. This idea is not a new one, and there are a lot of people who concur that the legalization of marijuana would financially devastate the cartels. The conference lasted two days and was held in El Paso, Texas. El Paso has now become the front line in this war due to its close proximity to Juarez. They evaluated America's War on Drugs over the last four decades; the major topic of discussion was regarding the pros and cons of legalization. William Martin, a sociology professor at Rice University who studies drug abuse and government policy believes that if marijuana were sold legally, as a controlled product, it might keep smokers away from other harder drugs. "If you are not going to a dealer to buy marijuana, you are less likely to go after harder drugs," states Martin. The War on Drugs conference is leaning towards legalization.

There was a reoccurring theme throughout the entire conference, panelist after panelist stated that America was as much to blame for the violence in Juarez as the Mexican government. The war being fought is over keeping Mexican drugs out of the United States, but, the majority of blood being spilled is Mexico's. According to the El Paso Times, "now that Mexico is trying to rid itself of the drug cartels that have killed thousands of people in the past 20 months, the United States should have an honest debate about drug policies that have done nothing to lessen demand, panelists said". We cannot continue to pretend that the U.S. is in anyway stemming the tide. Many politicians do not even want to broach the subject of legalization for the fear of their voters who are against it.

Nevertheless, drastic action needs to be taken if the killings are going to stop. Maybe, legalization would help? Maybe not? The United States and Mexico have a common enemy. It will take a joint effort to defeat this monster; cartels have become too powerful for the Mexican government to tackle this problem - they have tried and failed at the cost of many lives. In the past eight years the United States has devoted itself to foreign affairs, perhaps it is time to do some work at home. Marijuana is an addictive drug with negative side effects, but, we have to ask ourselves if prohibition is doing more harm than good. The Mexican border is becoming like Chicago in the 1930's and that is unacceptable on so many levels. When the War on Drugs conference is saying "Legalize", perhaps they have figured out something that might work - nothing else has.

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