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View Full Version : legalizing drugs won't eliminate Cartels.....



George Jung
06-19-2011, 02:20 PM
Opinion piece/NYTimes - interesting perspective, though don't know if her premise is correct.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/19/opinion/19longmire.html?_r=1



FOR a growing number of American policy makers, politicians and activists,
the best answer to the spiraling violence in Mexico (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/countriesandterritories/mexico/index.html?inline=nyt-geo) is to legalize the marijuana (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/subjects/m/marijuana/index.html?inline=nyt-classifier) that, they argue, fuels the country’s
vicious cartels and smugglers. After all, according to official estimates,
marijuana constitutes 60 percent of cartels’ drug profits. Legalization would
move that trade into the open market, driving down the price and undermining the
cartels’ power and influence.


Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. Marijuana legalization has many merits,
but it would do little to hinder the long-term economics of the cartels — and
the violent toll they take on Mexican society.


For one thing, if marijuana makes up 60 percent of the cartels’ profits, that
still leaves another 40 percent, which includes the sale of methamphetamine,
cocaine, and brown-powder and black-tar heroin. If marijuana were legalized, the
cartels would still make huge profits from the sale of these other drugs.



Plus, there’s no reason the cartels couldn’t enter the legal market for the
sale of marijuana, as organized crime groups did in the United States after the
repeal of Prohibition.


Still, legalization would deliver a significant short-term hit to the cartels
— if drug trafficking were the only activity they were engaged in. But cartels
derive a growing slice of their income from other illegal activities. Some
experts on organized crime in Latin America, like Edgardo Buscaglia, say that
cartels earn just half their income from drugs.


Indeed, in recent years cartels have used an extensive portfolio of rackets
and scams to diversify their income. For example, they used to kidnap rivals,
informants and incompetent subordinates to punish, exact revenge or send a
message. Now that they have seen that people are willing to pay heavy ransoms,
kidnapping has become their second-most-lucrative venture, with the targets
ranging from businessmen to migrants.


Another new source of cartel revenue is oil theft, long a problem for the
Mexican government. The national oil company, Pemex, loses hundreds of millions
of dollars’ worth of petroleum every year to bandits and criminal gangs who tap
into pipelines and siphon it off. Now the cartels are getting involved in this
business, working with associates north of the border to sell the oil to
American companies at huge markups.


In 2009 a federal court convicted an American businessman of helping to
funnel $2 million in petroleum products stolen from Pemex by a Mexican cartel,
eventually selling it to a Texas chemical plant owned by the German chemical
company BASF. The chemical company claims never to have known where the products
came from.


Cartels are also moving into the market in pirated goods in Latin America.
The market used to be dominated by terrorist groups like Hezbollah (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/h/hezbollah/index.html?inline=nyt-org) and Hamas (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/h/hamas/index.html?inline=nyt-org), who operated in the triborder area of
Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. Now the field is being overtaken by Mexican
cartels, which already have so much control over the sale of pirated CDs, DVDs
and software that many legitimate companies no longer even bother to distribute
their full-price products in parts of Mexico.


Taking another page from traditional organized crime, cartels are also moving
into extortion. A cartel representative will approach the owner of a business —
whether a pharmacy or a taco stand — demanding a monthly stipend for
“protection.” If those payments aren’t made on time, the business is often
burned to the ground, or the owner is threatened, kidnapped or killed.



A popular cartel racket involves branded products. For example, a cartel
member — most often from Los Zetas and La Familia Michoacana, two of the largest
and most diversified cartels — will tell a music-store owner that he has to sell
CDs with the Zetas logo stamped on them, with the cartel taking a 25 percent cut
of the profits. Noncompliance isn’t an option.


With so many lines of business, it’s unlikely that Mexican cartels would
close up shop in the event of legalization, even if it meant a serious drop in
profits from their most successful product. Cartels are economic entities, and
like any legitimate company the best are able to adapt in the face of a changing
market.


This is not to say that drug legalization shouldn’t be considered for other
reasons. We need to stop viewing casual users as criminals, and we need to treat
addicts as people with health and emotional problems. Doing so would free up a
significant amount of jail space, court time and law enforcement resources. What
it won’t do, though, is stop the violence in Mexico.


Sylvia Longmire, a former officer and investigative special agent in the Air
Force, is the author of the forthcoming book “Cartel: The Coming Invasion of
Mexico’s Drug Wars.”

Dutch
06-19-2011, 04:23 PM
who gives a rats if it gets rid of cartels or not- at least we wouldnt be funding their illegal activities anymore if we were growing our own high grade ganja here at home. You can find enough information on the net right now to grow some eye popping hootch at home, so why would anyone want to import ragweed from mexico ? And our jails and prisons would be much emptier.

those two results are reason enough

George Jung
06-19-2011, 04:27 PM
So... you didn't bother reading the opinion piece, eh?

Bruce Taylor
06-19-2011, 04:30 PM
those two results are reason enough

Yup.

And if the cartels decide to "enter the legal market," so much the better. I note that Seagrams employees no longer carry tommy guns & ride around on the running boards of '33 Buicks. ;)

Dutch
06-19-2011, 04:31 PM
I did read it-so we'd only be funding 40% vice 100% - still progress-

Bruce Taylor
06-19-2011, 04:32 PM
So... you didn't bother reading the opinion piece, eh?

I kinda skimmed it, too, & missed this:


We need to stop viewing casual users as criminals, and we need to treat
addicts as people with health and emotional problems. Doing so would free up a
significant amount of jail space, court time and law enforcement resources.

I don't agree w/ her closing thoughts, though. I think it would cut down on the violence in Mexico.

oznabrag
06-19-2011, 05:29 PM
I kinda skimmed it, too, & missed this:



I don't agree w/ her closing thoughts, though. I think it would cut down on the violence in Mexico.

I skimmed it, myself, and Lord preserve us, I agree with Dutch!

It's no surprise that I agree with Bruce :)

To me, the big picture presented by that article makes it clear that these vast criminal gangs owe a great debt to Ronald Reagan (spits over left shoulder). Through 30 years of utterly moralistic, judgmental, wrong-headed policy motivated by a sick need of the lunatic right to control the behavior of people who are having more fun than they do, we have managed to pour enough US dollars into the pockets of these monsters that they no longer need us. Our baby is walking and feeding itself, now. We no longer have any prayer of stopping them, short of annexing Mexico.


Oops! Did I say that out loud?

PeterSibley
06-19-2011, 05:41 PM
Seeing we are C&Ps this one might compliment George's ,it's shorter though .

Does Portugese Drug Policy Offer Lessons For U.S.?The U.S., which has waged a 40-year, $1 trillion war on drugs, is looking for answers in tiny Portugal, which is reaping the benefits of what once looked like a dangerous gamble, reports the Associated Press. White House drug czar Gil Kerlikowske visited Portugal in September to learn about its drug reforms, and other countries have taken interest, too. "The disasters that were predicted by critics didn't happen," said University of Kent Prof. Alex Stevens, who has studied Portugal's program. "The answer was simple: Provide treatment."Drugs in Portugal still are illegal, but Portugal changed the law so that users are sent to counseling and sometimes treatment instead of criminal courts and prison. The switch from drugs as a criminal issue to a public health one was aimed at preventing users from going underground. Other European countries treat drugs as a public health problem, too, but Portugal stands out as the only one that has written that approach into law. The result is that more people tried drugs, but fewer ended up addicted. Between 2000 and 2008, there there were small increases in illicit drug use among adults, but decreases for adolescents and problem users such as drug addicts and prisoners; drug-related court cases dropped 66 percent.

http://www.thecrimereport.org/archive/does-portugese-drug-policy-offer-lessons-for-u-s/

oznabrag
06-19-2011, 05:47 PM
Why in the hell does anybody think that weed should be illegal? Anybody who doesn't think that alcohol, tobacco and coffee should be illegal, that is!

People like to get off. Deal with that fact.

BarnacleGrim
06-19-2011, 05:48 PM
Alcohol cartels have been uncovered several times in Europe. Now illegal, they were once legal and even state-sanctioned in post-prohibition Norway.

Tough anti-trust laws are necessary, cartels are harmful to both consumers and businesses, and the problem isn't limited to contraband. Cartels exist in all business segments.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
06-19-2011, 05:48 PM
A question which ought to be asked is - whatever happened to the opium trade in China?

In the end, Mao put a stop to it, but it had ceased to be significant long before that.

The point worth noting isthat China was the first, and for a long time the only, nation to make opium an illegal substance.

oznabrag
06-19-2011, 05:50 PM
Let the Seals and their equivalents from the other branches take care of the Cartels. Mexico can't do it, and can't do anything about us doing it.

Holy crap! I think I might have some measure of agreement with Don!

Maybe that whole apocalypse/rapture deal really IS coming down!

On the other hand, Mr. W, it would hardly cost another thousand pesos just to annex the whole country. Just think! No more illegal Mexican immigrants!

oznabrag
06-19-2011, 05:53 PM
A question which ought to be asked is - whatever happened to the opium trade in China?

In the end, Mao put a stop to it, but it had ceased to be significant long before that.

The point worth noting isthat China was the first, and for a long time the only, nation to make opium an illegal substance.

Andrew, I am very hazy on any sort of Chinese history, but from somewhere in the back of my mind I seem to recall that, at some point, opium was used as a tool of oppression there.

Am I making this up?

BarnacleGrim
06-19-2011, 05:57 PM
The point worth noting isthat China was the first, and for a long time the only, nation to make opium an illegal substance.

How successful has it been? I don't know about opium, but the topic of weed came up while talking to a Chinese student. As I understood it the hempseed oil was good for cooking chicken. But the concept of smoking the flowers to get high seemed completely foreign.

PeterSibley
06-19-2011, 05:58 PM
The British ,via their Chinese companies imposed opium as currency as a result of the opium wars .Britain had access to cheap opium but not cheap silver .It was one of the more odious chapters of Britain's history .