By: Víctor Hermosillo, Mexican Senator
Elections in the United States not only resulted in the victory of Donald Trump, the legalization of marijuana was also voted in the states of California, Maine, Nevada and Massachusetts, therefore they are now 8 entities, one fifth of society, that accepts the recreational use of cannabis to people over 21 to carry up to 30 grams and grow plants in their homes.
This is a small big decision for the region, because throughout the 20th century we have been fighting the production, traffic and consumption of marijuana. Since 1925, when it was banned in Mexico, there has been more corruption and violence, as the power of drug cartels has increased and in many cases exceeds the capabilities of Mexican state.
In the area of security, particularly in the fight against drug trafficking, Mexico undertook two international mechanisms: First, the North American Partnership for Security and Prosperity (SPP); and second, the Merida Initiative where the government of the United States provided equipment and financing for security in our country.
If that were not enough, on December 11, 2006, former President Felipe Calderón initiated a frontal fight against drug cartels, which generated much criticism for the violence overrun never before seen in contemporary Mexico. With the alternation in 2012 the situation did not change, in fact the same levels are maintained and to this day, in 10 years of intense fighting there are more than 150,000 dead and 28,000 disappeared throughout the country. From 2006 to 2015, 48 people have been killed per day, and a total of 8,815 murders committed by alleged organized crime groups have been recorded in Mexico in the year 2016.
The situation is unsustainable and although the media no longer addresses violence of organized crime in the same way it did the past six years, the reality is that the picture remains the same and in many cases has worsened.
It is urgent to rethink the objectives and public policy around the use of marijuana, taking into account that the United States does not face the same violence and, therefore, does not have the same commitment to combat organized crime in their country; for instance, they have not said who their mafia leaders are in their country.
The prohibition or legalization of any product in the United States and Mexico invariably affects both, the bad thing is that the costs have not been distributed in the same way and the most affected one by this regulation has been our country, unfortunately, consolidated like the greater producer of marijuana in the continent and main supplier of North Americans.
With legalization we face an adverse scenario for us, since the decriminalization of marijuana in California and other entities, rumors have been heard that Canada already proposes to reverse the ban, which represents a challenge for political, economic, social, cultural, and security contradiction which this prohibition will bring to both nations: prohibition in the side of the producer and legalization in the consumer’s.
Facing this scenario and if nothing is done, the consequences are:
- In the United States, the cost of marijuana will increase because of the taxes and sanitary specifications that someone must meet in order to purchase and sale.
- Mexican shoppers will be able to cross the border to buy marijuana legally in California.
- The drug that cannot enter the United States must stay and look for a market in Mexico.
- Mexico must assimilate the impact of increased consumption among its society.
- Organized crime will be further diversified, venturing into other crimes.
- Our country will continue to lose lives and waste resources for trying to prevent production, consumption and trafficking into a nation that no longer prohibits it.
We must end with the “law of the border” which says that the United States brings the consumers and Mexico the drug and the dead. For us it is very common to react when the train has passed, fortunately in this case we still have a year to go until it comes into effect on January 1, 2018, let’s act now.