Coffee House

Mexico must legalise drugs

14 January 2013

5:56 PM

14 January 2013

5:56 PM

For the last six months or so, officials on both sides of the US/Mexico border have had their fingers crossed that the appalling violence perpetrated by Mexico’s warring drug gangs might be dying down. The new president, Peña Nieto, has a new, more conciliatory approach so, you know, maybe everyone will start playing nice…

No such luck. Intelligence from US officials suggests that the psychotic Los Zeta cartel and the well-established Sinaloas are in fact causing even more mayhem than ever.


More than 1,000 people have been killed since Pena Nieto took over it turns out, and Los Zetas planning a bloody take-over of some crucial border towns. Well, as we say this week’s mag, the brutal fact of the matter is that servicing America’s drug habit is such an insanely lucrative business that any attempt to stop drug trafficking by force is doomed. In fact, I think that anyone who looks into the rock-bottom situation in poor Mexico will agree that the only way to save Mexico is to legalise all drugs.

Nieto has muttered something about a new anti-drug squad but the previous President, Calderon, tried that approach and it only made things worse. Much, much worse. And as Daniel Kalder makes clear in his interview with a Zeta hitman, the gangsters are 1,000 times more psychotic, better organised and — crucially — better paid, than any cop. They have submarines, drones and helicopters at their  disposal — not to mention politicians in their pockets.

Even President Molina of Guatemala (a tough-guy, once keen on military crack-downs) has come to the conclusion that legalisation is the only answer and is pushing for a debate across the Americas. But does Peña Nieto have the guts to join in?

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Show comments
  • zapotec frank

    Legalizing grass seems to be a good idea ( it´s only weed, for christs sake -a cultural plant for thousands of years- no harm there; GROW UP POLITICS), but not as a measure to cut down and contain transnational criminal gangs such as the zetas, the sinaloa cartel and others… they will turn to other profitable ventures as chemical drugs, extortions, murders etc… anything to get the cash in. Those psychopatic c***s ( excuse me, but that´s what they are ) need to be tackled with an international effort, special ops, hackers, secret services. Not just the DEA or other US agencies. The Mexicans won´t have that for historical reasons. Get the German GSG9 in, the French, the Brits. Specialists. If the obvious development doesn´t get adressed… those cancerous cells will grow into something beyond our imagination.

  • Alex Kanias

    I think that if drugs were legalised in Mexico the violence would still continue as the cartels would each still seek to monopolise the supply chain, whether legal or not. Possibly all it would do is entangle goverment even further into the drug network as each cartel would seek to ‘persuade’ officials by various methods that drug licenses and contracts be awarded to them, rather then their competitiors.

  • disqus_z6bxF4kXUh

    Excellent article. The online editor should whack a load of comments and IP addresses because they make the comments unreadable. If governments are unable to keep drugs out of high security prisons, why do people think they can eliminate them from society (without methods such as executions, like in Singapore)?

  • echo34

    Could someone explain to me with reasoned argrument how any drugs would be produced under this plan?

    Is the government going to purchase opiates/coca from the afghani warlords or colombian/bolivian farmers directly? if so at what cost? Will they be bidding against other global criminal organisations for the product, because it certainly isn’t going to be cheap.

    Will these criminal elements just pack up and go home?

    I suggest there will always be a black market to undercut legalised drug sales which will be cheaper, more potent, no questions asked, etc.

    • Rhoda Klapp

      How can there be legal drug sales? Is a company going to be immune from litigation claiming harm? Are these drugs going to be able to bypass the regulatons which affect aspirins? Think of the number of quite ordinary medicines which require a scrip. Will you be be to get heroin (a trademark of Bayer!) OTC without all that trouble? Who will stop it falling into the hands of kids, or is it OK for them to take whatever they can afford, as it is after all victimless and recreational? I wish the legalise it faction would take the time to explain how they see it ll working, as it seems to me that their only thought is to buy it without risk. That’s fine but if you have a proposal you should think it through.

      • eeore

        HSBC pretty much got away with their role in the drugs trade… I don’t see anyone in jail.

        But you are correct that things have not been thought through.

        But then neither has anyone thought through how various secret services around the world will finance their off the book operations without the drugs trade. Which in turn is an argument for legalisation on the basis of democratic accountability.

  • Tom Tom……….That was her talking. This is me talking again, saying that I won’t name [ Mary Wakefield ]
    the serious newspaper either, except to say that I hope its editor,
    when he returned from holiday later that day, called her into his office
    and explained that if she really thought ignorance was a more honest
    form of knowledge then she should go and work for the kind of newspaper
    where she could interview Katie Price’s previous chest.

  • Rhoda Klapp

    I often wonder why in the case of drugs, and only drugs, the best way to eliminate crime is to allow it. We don’t do that for murder or shoplifting. Or speeding, that is a law I have broken pretty much every day for forty years, and so does everybody else. Legalise it.

    • James Strong

      But why should drug-taking be a crime?
      It has no victims.
      Things that druggies might do to get their drugs, such as robbery or burglary, are crimes and will remain so, but why should my ingestion of any substance, provided I pay for it with legally acquired money, be a crime?

      • Noa

        Because those who provide drugs do so knowing that they will kill, or destroy the lives of those who use them.

        But do it anyway, for profit.

        To legalise drugs is simply for government to nationalise social destruction and murder, substituting tax revenue for profit.

      • eeore

        You’d like to think it has no victims, but that is simple a lie.

    • eeore

      The speed limit is an interesting case, as the logic for it relates to brakes.

    • telemachus

      Fact is that regulating the drugs market is a dramatically more cost-effective policy than prohibition and that moving from prohibition to regulated drugs markets in England and Wales would provide a net saving to taxpayers, victims of crime, communities, the criminal justice system and drug users of somewhere around £13.9bn

  • David Austin Stephens

    Yes, the only solution is legalization. Or decriminalization. Even National Review, the American version of this magazine, plumped for it decades ago. Why not? Pace Sherlock Holmes, “Rule out all the impossible solutions and the one which remains, no matter now improbable, is the solution.”

    In Alaska people have broken INTO prisons to get drugs. We have lots of prison documentaries on television; not a single one passes without a mention of illegal drugs. If they cannot be kept out a prison, how to keep them out of America?

    The ones who make the money are never touched; like all rich liberals, they have bought the government that they want. The mules are the ones who suffer and the money is enough to insure that there will always be mules.

    Decriminalization will never happen though; there are entirely too many people who have livelihoods from the (failed) interdiction of drugs, through prosecuting the people, through imprisoning the ones (while murderers on State sentences are let go early), that it will never change.

    Reason is a weak foil when put up against the sentimental and shallow morality of (most of) the chattering classes and the people who make a living by hypocritically condemning that which cannot be stopped and which they live from.

    The U.S. Government, like all governments, is bent on its survival, and it will, until it kills the host. If you believe in Darwin, then it’s essential I think that all decent governments fail, to be replaced by governments run by the most vicious and concentrated.

    To get as dark as possible, here in the Land of the Freebie, do not expect any sort of ratiocination from America. The only pleasing thing, and it is not pleasing, is that the rest of western civilization is further down the road. It’s amazing how, when we’re not all concerned with our next meal, that we seem content to let third-rate people dispose of our lives, freedoms and fortunes. And it amuses me to think of the number of papers which I must make people signed for disclosure when the government runs howling, like a vampire from the sun, from any disclosures of its own.

    • Tom Tom

      I think we should decriminalise guns including fully automatic weapons, abolish all “hate crimes” so there aren’t any, and abolish all speed limits on motorways

    • James Strong

      Half-way houses don’t work. Full legalisation is the way to go.
      Baroness Meacher is reported in the press today as wanting legalisation of possession. That’s no good because, if supplying is still illegal, law-abiding citizens have to deal with criminals in order to oursue their legal recreation. This is absurd.

  • Curnonsky

    Surely the headline is supposed to read “America Must Legalize Drugs”? What effect would Mexico’s legalizing anything have when it is a lawless failed state anyway?

  • Tom Tom
  • Tom Tom

    Obama should stop arming the drug cartels. ….