The drug-fueled murders and mayhem in Mexico bring to mind the Prohibition-era killings in Chicago.
Although the Mexican violence dwarfs the bloodshed of the old bootleggers, both share a common motivation: profits. These are turf wars, fought between rival gangs trying to increase their share of the market for illegal drugs.
Seventy-five years ago, we sensibly quelled the bootleggers' violence by repealing the prohibition of alcohol. The only long-term solution to the cartel-related murders in Mexico is to legalize the other illegal drugs we overlooked when we repealed Prohibition in 1933.
Many boomers believe that decriminalizing the possession and use of marijuana would raise billions in taxes and eliminate much of the profits that fuel bloodshed and violence in Mexico and those U.S. states close to Mexican border. If we taxed the marijuana agribusiness at rates similar to that of tobacco and alcohol, we would raise about $10 billion in taxes per year.
We can try to deal with the Mexican murderers as we first dealt with Al Capone and his minions, or we can apply the lessons we learned from alcohol prohibition and finish dismantling the destructive prohibition experiment.
Should we begin by decriminalizing marijuana now? Let us know your thoughts by making a comment below.
Source: Steven B. Duke, professor of law at Yale Law School, as reported in The Wall Street Journal, April 25, 2009