Legalizing marijuana won’t kill the drug cartels

Sylvia Longmire in the New York Times.

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.

The cartels are diversifying into other forms of crime like kidnapping, protection rackets, oil theft, and pirated goods, she says, and while decriminalizing marijuana and not treating casual users as criminals will help, it won’t stop the violence in Mexico or its inevitable spillover into this country.