To Legalize Drugs Or Not?

By Alexey Braguine
Feb. 29, 2012

Visiting Argentina. Vicente Fox, agreed to an interview by La Nacion. Feisty as ever the tall former Mexican President did not shy away from controversial subjects. Still hot in the news was the attack on the Casino Royale in Monterrey where fifty two persons died and the far reaching drug wars which have killed over thirty thousand in the last three years.

Vicente Fox sees the drug problem this way: Mexico is a country in the middle. To the north it has the largest drug consumer in the world and the US is doing nothing do reduce consumption. To the south it has, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia who feed this insatiable market of 500 billion dollars a year.

To appreciate what 500 billion is, the official US defense budget is 600 billion. That means that the drug lords have the financial power nearly as large as that of the Pentagon. The drug lords can and do buy practically anyone they want. Go to any US city you are not familiar with and within ten minutes you will be able to find a drug dealer on the street. Cops may drive by while you are making your purchase of cocaine, crack or whatever else you may crave for.

Considering the drug Lords' financial power, a country like Mexico doesnīt stand a chance. We hear a lot of complaints in the US about Mexico allowing the cartels to haul their loads across the border. But where do the guns come from that the cartels use to shoot their way through? The US is the largest provider of drug cartel weaponry

In Mexico, the fighting is beginning to resemble a civil war. Why is it not the same inside the US? Mainly because the cops donīt interfere with the drug business. Sure, they take out the odd dealer, who continues his business inside the jail. The drug lords find this a small cost of doing business.

The US is also the biggest money laundry in the world. This industry creates a trickle up flow of narco dollars that reaches politicians, bankers and the country club set who has never even taken a snort of cocaine.

Can the War on Drugs be won? Weeell , . . so far, it has been a consistent failure for only forty years.

What would happen if drugs were legalized?

Let's assume that it was done right and proper security measures were taken against the drug lord retaliation. The cartels would react violently, but they would be severely cut from their former source of income and would lose power.

If licensed dealers were taxed 20% (taxation must be reasonable or smuggling will continue) the US government would increase its revenues by 100 billion a year.

The benefits don't stop there. The prison population will decrease, reducing another huge expense, pushers in schools would fade, the giant costs of drug interdiction would also vanish.

Will this ever happen? Or is the drug business too BIG to let it fail?


About the author: Alexey Braguine spent four years in Vietnam and Laos during the American involvement there. He has also worked in the Middle East and has visited Pakistan-Afghan border areas. He is the author of Kingmaker, a geopolitical thriller.

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