HS analysis Mexico decriminalizes marijuana entertainment, but the spiral of cartel violence is not breaking

Cartels are not just about the drug trade, but their power extends to many areas of life.

On Monday The Mexican Supreme Court decriminalizes marijuana entertainment use. The decision allows marijuana to be used in confined spaces and grown up to a certain limit, but at least its sale is not yet allowed.

Human rights organizations legalization is important because possession of cannabis has exposed Mexicans to human rights abuses by the authorities.

Mexicans who demanded legalization of cannabis also celebrated the decision, although they stressed that they were still waiting for a blessing from Congress on the matter.

“Congratulations to the Supreme Court,” also rejoiced Vicente Fox, A former president who ruled Mexico in the early 2000s.

Fox has been one of the most prominent activists calling for legalization of marijuana in recent years. He has highlighted the security aspect in particular.

“Legalizing marijuana will reduce violence in Mexico,” he said said in March.

The need to reduce homicides is acute in Mexico. The number of violent deaths began to rise sharply after the 2006 drug war. Since 2010, there have been 20,700 to 36,000 victims of homicide in the country each year.

Fox is not alone with his position, as many others believe that legalizing drugs will reduce violence.

Latin America has an example of marijuana legalization: Uruguay.

In Finland most homicides are committed drunk, but at the heart of the problem in Mexico is organized crime.

Mexican newspaper According to Animal Político at least 60 percent of Mexican homicides are caused by criminal organizations. In states where cartels are strongly intertwined, the share rises to as high as 80 percent.

It is therefore clear that organized crime needs to be brought under control if homicide deaths are to be reduced. However, there is no evidence of the role of marijuana in achieving this goal.

Currently, marijuana is legal in only a few countries. Their reality differs significantly from that of Mexico. It does not make sense to compare, for example, the violence statistics in Canada and Mexico.

Latin America has an example of marijuana legalization: Uruguay.

The country legalized the use and sale of marijuana in 2013. The country was ruled by a left-wing president at the time José Mujica, which justified the decision specifically by increasing safety.

It happened differently.

Uruguayan President José Mujica visits Finland in 2014.

Homicides the number clearly increased by 2018. Thus, at least, the legalization of marijuana did not decrease as promised.

In Mexico, the governor of the state of Puebla Miguel Barbosa Has said, legalizing marijuana does not reduce the violence of the drug trade, as most arrests and violence are linked to other substances such as lsd, cocaine and heroin.

With the legalization of marijuana, there has also been enthusiasm for millions of markets and new jobs.

Focusing on enthusiasm ignores the fact that cartels are hardly leave voluntarily profitable market. Nor are they expected to leave violence and crime behind because of a change in the law.

In recent decades, cartels in Mexico have not been in the habit of reducing but expanding their business.

Cartels are no longer just about drugs.

Before the cartels focused on areas favorable to drug trafficking. They were interested, for example, in the highways and ports needed for smuggling, as well as in good farming areas.

Cartels are no longer just about drugs.

Criminal organizations also make money by blackmailing wealthy businesses, kidnapping rich people, cultivating avocados, selling pirated plates, digging for minerals, and engaging in human trafficking. Power struggles are also fought over areas with exceptionally abundant nature or prosperous people.

Cartels are spreading to sectors where there are also legitimate companies. Dark operation guarantees competitive prices.

For example, the decision of the previous president of Mexico to release the price of gasoline was fatal for the residents of the state of Guanajuato. Before that, the state had been one of the safest in the country. However, as fuel prices rose, dark fuel trade began to attract interest from cartels.

Guanajuato provided a strategic location for fuel theft. In 2017, two cartels declared war on the state and it became one of the most violent in the country.

It is likely that the cartels do not intend to abandon the marijuana market either. They have a competitive advantage over legitimate players in tax avoidance, ready-made networks and a lot of power.

Drug war reminiscent of the battle of Greek mythology against the nine-headed water snake monster Hydra. When it is cut off, many new ones grow quickly in its place.

The same thing is happening to cartels. When states capture drug bosses, they are replaced by numerous boss pyramids.

Although individual cartels have been defeated, the result has only been the fragmentation, proliferation and increase in regional wars.

Experts agree that the drug war is over. However, the ineffectiveness of force does not mean that drug legalization will necessarily work.

The solution is too easy for a complex problem in the country.

Drug cartels have had time to extend their power to the tentacles of Mexico almost everywhere. In October 2019, Mexican authorities attempted to arrest the most famous drug lord in Mexican history Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmánin son in the city of Culiacán. The cartel prevented the arrest.

The hours-long battle in the city between the army and the cartel strike forces brought out the balance of power in an embarrassing way. The will of the cartel came true, the state disappeared.

Who would be willing to relinquish such power voluntarily?

Read more: Mexico decriminalizes marijuana entertainment use – Supreme Court rules after bill gets stuck in Congress

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