Thursday, November 04, 2010

Quixotian war on drugs wins another pointless battle

One could consider it amusing, if not laughable, if so many lives were not lost in the war on drugs in Mexico. Today a joint US/Mexican operation managed to find a drug tunnel between the two countries where smugglers transported weed from Mexico to the USA. In what they undoubtedly consider an amazing victory the authorities in Mexico and the USA confirmed also that they seized 25 tons of marijuana. Well, it seems like a Quixotian victory of a kind, if it's a victory at all. A consequence of the pointless criminalization of Marijuana (a drug much less harmful than say alcohol) is an open-ended invitation to criminals to capture the drug market. Quite some of this criminal drug money goes straight back into funding the war criminal gangs fight in Mexico against the Mexican people. It is clear then that the seizure of these 25 tons will actually fuel the war, rather than bring it closer to an end. Why is that?

As it goes in all markets, the price increases when the quantity of the product available remains stable but demand increases, or when there is even less of the product at steady demand or increasing demand. That then is what this 25 ton fund will practically mean. If anything, it might fuel the civil war in Mexico, because the other criminal weed producers will be able to sell their quantities at higher prices. 'Sisyphus'  and 'pointless' come to mind when looked at from disinterested perspective. In addition to being pointless from the perspective of those wanting to 'win the war on drugs', arguably these sorts of 'successes' assist criminals in financing their counter war more efficiently.

Complete waste of time, it appears to me. The societal answer to people's interest in taking drugs should be based on the objective harms that are caused by particular classes of drugs. These harms should not be measured by policies resulting into harms (as criminalization fuels today the civil war in Mexico), but on the intrinsic harmfulness of particular drugs. If a societal responses causes more harm than could be caused by the intrinsic harmfulness of a particular drug policy changes are surely called for.

1 comment:

  1. Love your blog. Having left Mexico many years ago I can't believe the amount of violence people there are living with on a daily basis. There must be something that can be done to solve the drug and violence problem in Mexico. Back when I was living in Mexico and Colombia had a terrible violence problem the media would proclaim Mexico being Colombianized. Well, the self fulfilling prophecy is coming full circle. Thanks for writing on this issue.


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