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by David E. Robles
This week has seen an increase in boldness by Mexican cartels, specifically the detonation of an explosive device at the Mexican television station Televisa and the armed blockading of more than 13 major roads in the Mexican city of Monterrey on August 14th. Violence has increased sharply in the industrial city following the extending of Mexican cartel Los Zetas’ operations there. Although there were no injuries at the Televisa blast, four were killed in the shootout between the Mexican army and alleged cartel members.
With 28,000 reported deaths tied to the drug cartel violence in Mexico since he entered office in December of 2006, President Felipe Calderon is being forced to open discussions on legalizing marijuana in Mexico. Although Mexico has decriminalized possession of a small amount of nearly all drugs, former President Vicente Fox is among those who believe complete legalization in the country will cut funding to cartels and increase government revenue. U.S. drug policy director Gil Kerlikowske argued it would not curb violence or weaken cartels significantly. Ted Galen Carpenter, Vice President for Defense and Foreign Policy Studies at the CATO Institute, says the time has come for similar discussions about American drug prohibition. A change in prohibition policy by the United States would likely lead to similar changes in international drug policies — and have a far more dramatic impact toward weakening cartels.
The California marijuana legalization and taxation initiative (Proposition 19) has picked up support by the National Black Police Association, a group that represents African American police officers. The group’s director, Ron Hampton stated the National Black Police Association’s support of the initiative is because of the negative impact current California marijuana policy has on the African American community. (The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in California announced support for the initiative last month.)
Not all in California — or even within the marijuana-consuming community — support the initiative, however. The blog for Stoners Against the Proposition 19 Tax Cannabis Initiative expresses concerns that the measure, “reverses many of the freedoms marijuana consumers currently enjoy, pushes growers out of the commercial market, paves the way for the corporatization of cannabis, and creates new prohibitions where there are none now.”