There are several arguments for the legalization of marijuana. One is that by legalizing cannabis, you ultimately remove product and revenue from the black market. Here’s why:
Making something illegal doesn’t eliminate the market for that thing, as the United States learned when it chose to make alcohol illegal during Prohibition. While alcohol didn’t remain illegal for long, a slew of other previously legal substances (marijuana among them) went onto the banned list. In America this began the war on drugs, an event which has led to mass incarceration, socially ostracizing non-violent drug users, and a slew of other problems.
Often, though, America is so concerned with the harm it’s doing to itself that it forgets the harm its policies are doing to its neighbors.
The Formation and Continuation of Mexico’s Cartels
According to Cracked it was Prohibition that led to the rise of Mexico’s cartels. When alcohol became legal again it would have been the end of these massive criminal organizations, if not for the other illicit drugs they could now provide. While cocaine has been the most popular drug from Mexico for decades, marijuana was also a big money-maker for them. As much as 90 percent of all the cocaine Americans buy comes either from or through Mexico, contributing to the iron-fisted hold these criminal organizations have over our neighbor to the south.
But, What Does This Have To Do With Legal Marijuana?
Just because marijuana was illegal, that didn’t stop the demand for it. So, while Colorado and Washington have made huge returns off of legal marijuana, there was another, unseen bonus that came along with it; a $3 billion hit to the cartel’s profits. Not a bad argument for the concept of “Legalize it, Regulate it, and Tax it” now is it?
So, for just a moment, imagine the money the cartels would lose if marijuana was legal everywhere in the U.S. While that probably wouldn’t be enough to make the cartels wither on the vine (cocaine and meth are probably their two top sellers), by legalizing marijuana the U.S. is taking money directly out of organized crime’s pockets, and drying up a revenue stream that’s been used to perpetuate heinous, violent crimes.
That’s a pretty good argument for legalization in our minds. Don’t you think so too?