United States investigators found 30 tons of marijuana in an underground tunnel frequented by smugglers on the Mexican border near California. The small tunnel is surprisingly sophisticated, with 600 yards of lighting and ventilation that leads from Tijuana, Mexico, into Otay Mesa, Calif.. The drug cartels are related to increasing violence in parts of Mexico, reports BBC:
“Some 28,000 people have died in drug-related violence in Mexico since December 2006 when the government launched a crackdown on the gangs that control the routes for trafficking drugs into the US market.”
This recent development leads one to wonder: Would legalizing marijuana beyond medical purposes help the situation? If smugglers are so intent on selling, can we minimize the violence and regulate the drug by making it legal? Californian voters just shot down the Regulate, Control, and Tax Cannibas Act, more commonly known as Proposition 19, by a narrow margin this past week, which would have legalized marijuana and enabled taxes on the sale of the drug just like tobacco.
Would legalizing marijuana in other places put pressure on the federal government to take steps toward a compromise? Like my home state of Connecticut, perhaps?
A recent CT News blog post chronicles the life of Scott Merrell, who is running for governor and testifying in favor of changing the way Connecticut courts treat marijuana users. The legislation would make the possession of cannibas a minor infraction instead of a crime. The report quotes Merrell: “‘Think of it this way. When you make something illegal it’s got a reverse effect. It’s the forbidden fruit.'”
Legalizing Other Drugs
If activists push for the legalization of marijuana, will this lead to the legalizing of other drugs in the future? Should we support the public sale of heroin, cocaine, meth, or other hard drugs that are hazardous to our health? If not, then what makes tobacco or alcohol different? A simple answer is addiction. Tobacco is addictive, but it doesn’t take rehab to quit. Some alcohol, like red wine, can actually be healthful if consumed in moderation. Marijuana isn’t physically addictive, though, like alcohol, it can be psychologically addictive.
The upsurge of violence in Mexico isn’t just due to the transport of marijuana; there are other drugs at play, and legalizing them isn’t a smart option. Legalizing cannibas may be one step in the peace-making process, but it’s not a simple solution.
BBC Report http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-11690556
CT News Blog Marijuana Report http://blog.ctnews.com/politicalcapitol/2010/03/21/which-candidate-for-governor-wants-to-decriminalize-marijuana/