Mexico’s drug cartels: Is Canada next?

They’re already ‘the greatest organized crime threat to the U.S.’

Shaul Schwarz / Getty Images

When councilman Beto O’Rourke looks out the 10th-floor window of the El Paso, Texas, city hall, he sees a fence: “a big, ugly, Berlin-style fence. It’s disgusting.” The structure separates dusty El Paso from its proximal sister city: Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, which is, by all accounts, under siege. More than 850 people were killed in the northern Chihuahua city this year, nearly all of them in drug cartel-related violence. “Juárez has become the deadliest city in the world,” O’Rourke insists. “It’s a crazy, f–ked up situation.”

In response, the Obama administration announced last week that it will send 1,200 National Guard troops to patrol along the southwest border—this just weeks after Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano agreed to dispatch aerial drones to prowl the Texas skies. Four decades after the U.S. launched its “war on drugs,” battle lines are hardening. But the new initiatives may be a case of too little, too late. While most eyes have been focused on the violence in Mexico—some 23,000 people have died since 2006 as drug cartels vie for control in places such as Juárez and Tijuana along the U.S. border, battling each other and the Mexican authorities who are trying to stamp them out—there has already been a more dire development: the push by cartels into the United States itself.

Certainly what has been happening in places like Juárez is distressing. There is more infighting among the omnipotent drug cartels. Killings have become more brazen: more likely to target civilians and Americans. The talk in Juárez earlier this month was about a young bridegroom who was abducted at gunpoint, in broad daylight, as he walked his new bride out of their wedding ceremony to the sound of a church organ. His mutilated body was found later, when a passerby noticed a foul smell coming from an abandoned pick-up truck with Texas licence plates.

But despite the fact that more than 50,000 pedestrians cross between El Paso and Juárez each day—families and city streets are said to flow across country lines—El Paso itself has remained remarkably immune to the bloodshed. “This year, we’ve only had one murder,” El Paso policeman Darrel Petry boasted to Maclean’s. Of course, that’s because once the narcos make it across the border, there’s no reason to stick around. “Once you get over,” shrugs O’Rourke, “you are immediately on the U.S. interstate system.”

In the last few years, those highways have been put to good use. The cartels, say police, are on the move. From El Paso, traffickers take the I-20 east to Atlanta, which has become a hub for drug transfers. Or they go west on the I-10 to Phoenix—where cartel-related violence has earned the Arizona city a new title: “Kidnapping Capital of the U.S.” Other times, Juárez wholesalers follow the I-55, up from Missouri and on to Chicago, where they bunker down in middle-class suburbs. From there, shipments are split up and parcelled out—increasingly to cells in places like New York, New Jersey, Washington, B.C. and Ontario.

“What we’re seeing is a rise in Mexican drug trafficking organizations [DTOs],” Rusty Payne of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency told Maclean’s, “in more and more places where you wouldn’t expect it.” In 2009, the Department of Justice declared Mexican cartels to be the “greatest organized crime threat to the United States.” Today, they have a presence in 230 U.S. cities (up from 50 in 2006), from Little Rock, Ark., to Anchorage, Alaska.

Back in El Paso, a popular first stop on the interstate, O’Rourke is waiting for the U.S. troops to arrive. It’s not certain when that will happen, but the day will undoubtedly be celebrated by the border-state governors and senators who have, for years, been demanding a heightened military response to the cartels. But O’Rourke sounds weary. After just five years in office, the 37-year-old already has a tendency to sound fatalistic: “You just can’t build a fence high enough.”

In 2006, the Mexican government declared war on the cartels. Days after winning the presidency, the stern-faced, Harvard-educated Felipe Calderón took a historic first stand—brushing aside Mexico’s corrupt police, and dispatching some 45,000 soldiers to Mexican streets. He also opened his doors to U.S. military commanders, who George W. Bush eagerly allowed to step in and train Mexican forces. Meant to quell the bloodshed, the militarization only fanned it. “Almost to the day, the violence skyrocketed,” says Walter McKay, a former Vancouver drug cop and now director of the Center for Professional Certification of Police Agencies in Mexico City. Today, “it’s spreading like a cancer.”

It wasn’t like this when Colombia was king. In the 1990s, Bogotá’s Cali and Medellín gangs were the main U.S. suppliers. The Mexicans were just the middlemen: paid a fixed amount by Colombian growers—up to $2,000 per kilo of cocaine—to shuttle drugs into the U.S. But in the late ’90s, Mexican drug families began pushing for more control. Soon, they came to a “payment-in-product” arrangement, which replaced the fixed fee with a chunk of Colombian cocaine that they could traffic independently. What held the arrangement together, explains McKay, was that it was effectively state-sponsored. Government turned a blind eye to the cartels, he says; they, in turn, were able to operate a disciplined territorial system, with low-level drug families controlling traffic in small squares of land, parcelled out by the cartels. There was no need for violence, adds Bruce Bagley, chair of the department of international studies at the University of Miami: territory was respected, and “you could do business as long as you didn’t kill anybody in the street.”

Around that time, president Bill Clinton—channelling Richard Nixon, who was the first to use the term “war on drugs” in 1971—turned his attention to choking off Colombian production, committing $1.3 billion in 2000. In a way, it worked; soon, the major Colombian cartels were decapitated. But the “war” did not stop coca production in Bogotá—and Colombian cocaine remained available to the Mexican cartels. But that same year, Mexicans went to the polls and, for the first time since the 1910 revolution, elected the opposition. The state-supported drug trade collapsed, and the already power-hungry cartels leapt to fill the void. The situation in Mexico worsened, McKay says: the cartels swelled, then started fighting amongst themselves. Some formed paramilitary wings, made up of thugs armed with U.S. semi-automatics. For the first time, the cartels stopped being “cartels” at all; they were now competitive parties in a free and lucrative market.

Jack Killorin, who coordinates law enforcement for Atlanta’s High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), makes a compelling case for a new crime thriller—“Metro Atlanta Vice,” as he playfully calls it. “Miami Vice?” he laughs. “Those days are gone.” In the last few years, Atlanta has become a lead trafficking hub for Mexico’s valuable wares. Killorin’s drama would likely be set in the middle-class suburb of Gwinnett County, which district attorney Danny Porter describes as the unlikely new epicentre of the U.S. drug trade: “Miles and miles of identical subdivisions interspersed with industrial parks.” It’s about access, Killorin says. The cartels have come to Atlanta for the same reason that UPS is headquartered there: highways branch out from the city “like the spokes of a wheel radiating out to the U.S.”

It starts, says Killorin, when “multi-hundred-kilo loads” are moved directly from Mexico to Atlanta—often hidden among legitimate shipments. The loads are “poly-drug”: meth, cocaine, heroin and marijuana, packaged together. But U.S.-bound cocaine is often still champion. Once the drugs arrive in Atlanta, the loads are split among mid-level Mexican distributors, who then pass the goods along in smaller and smaller parcels.

But at the street level, the Mexicans make an abrupt exit. “They don’t control it on the streets,” says Killorin. Instead, “they sell wholesale loads to other criminal organizations who are not necessarily ethnically tied to them.” In Atlanta, for example, the cartels deal through the primarily African-American Crips, and a slew of local Caucasian gangs.

This holds true across the country, says the University of Miami’s Bagley: “The Mexicans are equal-opportunity employers.” In its 2010 “National Drug Threat Assessment,” the U.S. National Drug Intelligence Center (a branch of the Justice Department) noted that “mid-level and retail drug distribution” is carried out “by more than 900,000 criminal active gang members representing approximately 20,000 street gangs in more than 2,500 cities.” This is all a departure from the days of the Colombian cartels, which controlled sales from the soil to the street.

It’s largely the expansive buffet of local gangs that has allowed Chicago to debut as the key supplier of Mexican drugs to the Midwest. “Here in Chicago,” says Will Taylor, a DEA special agent, “we have about 75 active gangs, with a membership of around 100,000.” Chicago’s Mexican cartels “often use Asian gangs and Polish gangs. But [they’ll] use all different types.” The unique success of the Mexican cartels, says Taylor, has been to build “a relationship, a partnership,” with each of them.

The careful networking with outside gangs is one way the Mexican cartels have succeeded in doing what the Colombians could not: lie low. Another is the way that Mexican retailers keep their flash factor to a minimum. “They assimilate into the neighborhoods,” Chicago’s Taylor says. “Their kids go to school. These people blend in!” The Colombians preferred a more “high-visibility lifestyle: flashy cars and Rolexes and Armani suits,” says Killorin. “With that comes a lot of exposure. As a result, they got the crap kicked out of them. The Mexicans went to school on that.”

A third thing the cartels do well in the U.S.: keep violence in the family. There’s no better example of that than Phoenix. In 2008, Phoenix recorded a whopping 368 kidnappings. But Tommy Thompson, a Phoenix police sergeant, bristles at the “kidnapping capital” label: “People say it’s kidnapping. We don’t have kids!” His insistence that Phoenix residents don’t live in perpetual fear is valid. “When we have people kidnapped,” he explains, “it’s not John or Jane Q. Citizen. It’s those who are directly involved in criminal activity or their associates.” In fact, the sergeant contends, until ABC reported on the trend in 2008, “most people didn’t realize the kidnappings were going on.” Still, the problem was severe enough to form a special police kidnapping squad. All this, says Elizabeth Kempshall, an Arizona DEA agent, has coincided with a “dramatic increase” in drug flow through her state; 800,000 lb. of drugs were seized there in 2005, she says, but the figure has now more than doubled.

Violence within the cartels might be contained, but the cartels themselves are not. More than anything, it is their affinity for movement—particularly the northbound kind—that has law enforcement on edge. In 2007, the “National Drug Threat Assessment” noted that Mexican DTOs “dominate the illicit drug trade in every area except the Northeast.” Now, the 2010 report highlights how they have expanded to the “New York/New Jersey, and New England Regions”—largely by dealing through Dominican gangs.

Jay Fallon of the New England HIDTA has been watching the “growing influence of Mexican DTOs.” He says “there is nowhere in the country that has a greater heroin abuse problem” than New England; some of the biggest heroin busts he has overseen in the last few years took place in notoriously posh Connecticut. Perhaps the newness of the cartels’ presence in the region explains Fallon’s eagerness to grasp at small blessings: like the fact that his states are generally “end points” on the drug trail, and not distribution hubs. That is, except for the drugs flowing up through New England and into Canada. “I’m quite certain that happens,” Fallon mumbles.

Pat Fogarty, superintendent of the RCMP’s combined forces special enforcement unit, is also certain that Mexican cartels have made their way above the Canada-U.S. border. It started about a decade ago, he says, when Canadian demand for cocaine took off. But the process has become more streamlined: “We have a completely new infrastructure that supports the movement of cocaine, ecstasy, marijuana, you name it.”

Much of that happens along the stretch of border that divides Detroit from Windsor, Ont. It’s “the busiest border crossing for vehicular traffic in North America,” says Sgt. Brett Corey of the Windsor police; 28 per cent of Canada-U.S. trade—more than $113 billion per year—crosses the Detroit-Windsor tunnel or Ambassador Bridge. So Corey isn’t surprised that “we’re seeing a lot of crack cocaine coming across the border” too. Some of the drugs stay in Windsor, but a lot “makes its way across the 401 corridor to Toronto or to Montreal.” The drug flow itself is hardly new, but the pace in Windsor has picked up, “because you have safety in numbers with the 9,000 trucks that cross every day,” Fogarty says. He adds that dealers traffic Mexican drugs to Toronto via Windsor often in trucks loaded with produce.

Fogarty likely knows better than anyone the extent to which the cartels have spread into Canada. Last year, he was widely quoted as saying that gang violence in B.C. was “directly related to this Mexican war”; as military strikes against the cartels in Mexico dried up North American cocaine supplies, local gangs in Vancouver fought to control what was left. A year later, Fogarty tells Maclean’s that where Canada’s cartel connection was once an indirect one, embodied by “prominent local people [who] have made contact with cartel members,” the cartels have since crossed north. “I’ve dealt with Mexican cartel types up here,” he says. “They do exist.”

And they’re not just here as sellers; they’re buyers, too. “You have to see this as a north-south trade,” Fogarty says. As a representative of the New York state DEA told Maclean’s: “marijuana comes down and cocaine heads up.” Fogarty says Canadian drug dealers and the cartels have worked out an elaborate “credit system” whereby drugs, rather than money, change hands. “The sophistication is getting better and better and better.”

What can be done? Some say that the bloodshed in Mexico is a sign that anti-drug efforts are working—with the lashing out of the cartels amounting to something like a deathbed shudder. “The violence down south is horrific. It breaks your heart,” says the Arizona DEA’s Elizabeth Kempshall. “But if the cartels’ backs weren’t being broken, they wouldn’t be this way.”

But demand for narcotics remains strong, and according to the U.S. Department of Justice, “the availability of illicit drugs in the United States is increasing.” Given that, Barack Obama’s much-touted new drug strategy, unveiled last month, marks a turning point. The initiative—which aims for a 15 per cent reduction in drug consumption among youths and chronic users by 2015—will focus on the user rather than the drug supplier. “The whole program has been restructured,” says Vanda Felbab-Brown, author of Shooting Up: Counterinsurgency and the War on Drugs. “It’s not simply the policy of Bush versus the policy of Obama.”

Others aren’t so hopeful. “Drugs have been used at the same rate for decades,” says Juan Carlos Hidalgo, project coordinator for Latin America at the Washington-based Cato Institute. “I don’t think it’s going to make much change.” And in the meantime, it hardly seems like the cartels are in their death throes. Since 2006, they have indeed taken a beating—but their response has simply been to fragment, with the result that the number of major cartels operating in the U.S. is larger than before. The effect that 1,200 new National Guard troops will have at the border is also unclear. Border officials say that security has been steadily tightened since 9/11. And Bush himself sent 6,000 troops to the same region under Operation Jump Start in June 2006. (That mission ended in 2008.) All that time, the border has remained penetrable to cartel agents.

Now, with the prospect of being squeezed between Calderón’s military in Mexico and Obama’s troops on the U.S. border, there are signs that the cartels are gearing up for a more furious fight. Tom Crowley, a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agent in Dallas, works to seize U.S. guns being trafficked into Mexico. In recent years, he’s been troubled by what he’s seeing: “an increase in the amount of weapons and the military capability of those weapons.” Crowley says it’s much more likely now that cartel members dealing in the U.S. are well-armed. “You see more military-type weapons and explosives,” agrees Tom Mangan of Phoenix’s ATF: “grenades, grenade launchers, machine guns, fully automatics—a whole plethora.”

For Mangan, this is all a sign that the cartels are bracing for all-out war. “That’s where us in law enforcement on the border, we recognize that it’s like a narco insurgency.” New boots on the ground won’t make a difference—because “the cartels aren’t afraid.”




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Mexico’s drug cartels: Is Canada next?

  1. None of these strategies has a chance of helping the situation, because none of them addresses the cause of the problem, which is prohibition, not drugs. Drugs don't cause crime and violence, only prohibition does that. If drugs caused violence, wherever you have a drug, you would have violence. Aspirin is a drug. Where is the aspirin violence? U.S. demand for Mexican beer doesn't cause cartel turf wars, because it's not prohibited. Prohibitionists would have you believe that God was unwise when He created the psychoactive plants and designed humanity's wiring and plumbing to be sensitive to them. Lack of liberty is the cause of the plague on society, not drugs. Liberty to garden and share nature's bounty will cure society's sickness. Don't reform prohibition, just repeal it.

    • Think you've missed something or other here. Drugs are prohibited in both the US and Mexico, yet both don't have an equal problem with drug cartels. It's the US trying to keep gang violence out of their country, not the other way around. So your explanation doesn't fully explain.

      • The most proximate cause is the desire of some people to regulate the behavior of others and that is prohibition, not consumption. The fact that prohibition exists in both the US and Canada is no argument whatever that prohinition should not be ended. The drug cartels would evaporate in 6 months.

      • Proximity is the other part of the equation, the US is adjacent to Mexico, Canada is not. If Canada bordered Mexico it would be experiencing the same problem given their similar prohibitionist philosophy.

  2. How the heck does prohibition get attributed as the cause of the problem? This is only a proximate cause. Consumption of drugs is much closer to being the actual cause of the problem. The Consumptionist want to end prohibition, not out of a desire reduce the casualties of prohibition, but so that they can freely consume drugs. This would be and already is a disaster for soceity. It is mentacide.

    Why won't the Consumptionist start organizing for reduced consumption? Surely this will greatly reduce the demand and thereby the transfer of money to the enemies of civilization. Oh, wait, the new social contract of Western soceity is to bailout those that fail to regulate themselves.

    • A lot of us in favour of full legalization of all drugs don't actually endorse taking them. Arguably, it's harder to direct education and intervention programs toward illegal activities.

      Also, legalization would hamstring the criminal organizations who profit so richly from the drug trade, and dedicate themselves to creating larger ranks of addicts and keeping them supplied. One might see a drop in use from their absence.

      I'm willing to allow that one might see a brief upswing in usage, but in the long term prohibition has created far more problems than it has reduced usage.

      I'm a big proponent of individuals taking responsibility for themselves, but we need to acknowledge the nature and patterns of addictions too.

      • A lot of us in favour of full legalization of all drugs

        Really, Sean? You think that heroin should be fully legalized?

        • Yep. I've known a lot of people who have taken a lot of drugs in their lives, and the illegality of it just wasn't an issue. (EDIT: and most of them have or had something to lose: I can only imagine the meaningless of illegality for those who start out life with crappy prospects.) And the harm done by large-scale imprisonments (and the resources taken by policing and jailing) far outstrips the harm we'd see if everything was fully legal.

          I also realize how drugs such as heroin destroy lives (mind you, so does alcohol, hash, etc…) But legal addicts will at least be less likely prey for pimps, gangs, and the like.

          The downsides to prohibition far outweigh the benefits (and quite honestly, I haven't seen much compelling evidence to suggest there are measurable benefits). Give me an hour, and I could get my hands on most any substance you name. If that doesn't speak to the failure of prohibition, I don't know what does.

          Legalizing all drugs would not mean allowing residential grow-ops, pushing to kids, etc., just to be clear.

          But I think we could see much better results (in terms of harm reduction) by putting our resources into education and intervention.

          • Give me an hour, and I could get my hands on most any substance you name.

            Cool. I was looking for a good hook up. ;-)

            While I'm sympathetic to arguments for legalizing marijuana, I reject those arguments for harder drugs, simply because they're too harmful. I also don't buy the "relativity" argument. Sure, alcohol destroys lives, and it's abused by a much larger segment of the population, but heroin is much worse than alcohol, not only because it's more harmful to the body but also because it's insanely addictive.

            I'm extremely skeptical that putting more resources into education and intervention would do much to prevent the massive harm that would result from making hard drugs legally available.

          • I guess the core assumption is that legalization would significantly increase use. I think you`d see it remain relatively stable.

            It`s true that some drugs are highly addictive, but there`s some compelling evidence suggesting that a combination of external factors and individual biological and psychological makeup contribute hugely to the mix (I know a few folks who have used crack from time to time, yet remain unaddicted to it). A friend of mine is an addiction counsellor, and she`s quite vehement that most anything can serve as a `gateway`drug, from pot and beyond.

          • As I recall, since the Netherlands legalized drugs, usage has increased rather significantly. You also see more combination use.

            Also, certain narcotics, such as Angel Dust, cause immediate, permanent brain damage on first use. Then you have the problems of a number of them having a high risk of lethal side effects, such crack cocaine. How do you regulate something like that? Prescription? What doctor is going to let you have something that's got a good chance of killing you, just for a buzz?

            Alcohol is unusual in that we have evolved a rather tremendous immunity to it. Most things, alcohol simply kills outright, but we have some pretty heavy duty systems for metabolizing it into non-toxic substances. Even there, we can only process grain and sugar alcohols; outside that narrow range, and it kills us real good too. In fact, if you don't have the dedicated enzymes for decomposing ethanol, then it kills you too. Edgar Allen Poe was one of those people. For someone like him, a single beer was the equivalent of an ordinary person drinking a bottle of Jack Daniel's.

            You take a look at the other drugs, and we have no enzymes dedicated to breaking down LSD. Just not part of the gene pool. We do for alcohol. That's what makes it different.

          • Your recall facility appears to be damaged; Contrary to DEA misinformation campaigns, the Dutch coffee shop system works really fine and it's success is reflected in statistics which show a far lower rate of usage (of all illegal drugs), not only by the youth, but by all age groups when compared to American figures.

            Source 1: US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, National Household Survey on Drug Abuse: Volume I. Summary of National Findings (Washington, DC: HHS, August 2002), p. 109, Table H.1.

            Source 2: Trimbos Institute, "Report to the EMCDDA by the Reitox National Focal Point, The Netherlands Drug Situation 2002" (Lisboa, Portugal: European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, Nov. 2002), p. 28, Table 2.1.

            Dutch authorities have set up rules to restrain soft drugs to personal use and prevent illegal trade. Therefore, marijuana and hash can only be purchased by adults (over 18) in amounts up to 5g. Buying or selling soft drugs on the street or anywhere else but licensed coffee shops is strictly forbidden.

            The amount of soft drugs in stock is also restricted for coffee shops. Owners are not allowed to keep more than 500g of weed or hash in stock, although breaking this rule is often tolerated. It would be somehow hard to imagine how a popular and crowded coffee shop would suddenly close for the evening because of low stock of weed.

            Customers are offered a menu with all the different products they can buy and smoke. Some coffee shops offer free tobacco, rolling papers and even vaporizers.

          • This is the dumbest post i have ever read.

            The primary metabolite of alcohol is acetyl aldehyde. Acetyl aldehyde is a known carcinogen and mutagen. It is also found in large ammounts in cigarette smoke.

            Our body's do have ways to eliminate LSD. If we didn't, everyone who took it would trip forever.

            Unlike ethanol, LSD is chemically a very unstable molecule and it degrades under light, high temperatures, or high or low PH conditions.

            Its morons like voyager that keep prohibition going strong

          • "As I recall, since the Netherlands legalized drugs, usage has increased rather significantly"

            what is it about you people that makes you think you can get away with bald faced lies on a macleans forum??

          • I'll bet that "reported drug use" actually DID go up after the criminal penalties were removed. After all, if you were polled and asked if you took part in illegal activities, how honest would you be in your answer? Once people feel safe that they're not going to be stormed and jailed for their admission, it's WAY easier to admit their use.

        • Go back to high school economics class, and learn about supply and DEMAND. Learn that you cannot up DEMAND simply by upping supply. Contrary to popular held superstition, drugs are not PUSHED, the drug dealers are filling a DEMAND not creating one. The DEMAND is here in the US and is impossible to control, but what is possible to control, is the income from that DEMAND. All we have to do is allow legal businesses to meet that DEMAND. Under proper regulation drug use will not rise, as it couldn't get any worse than it is at present.

          And one last thought: The real “drug Dons” are the rich and powerful who control the government-licensed drug cartel (Big Pharma). They view people like yourself who oppose proper regulation of these unpatentable –thus at present illegal– substances, as “useful idiots”

          • I wouldn't think to lecture someone on having to learn economics when you yourself need a refresher course. You don't "up" demand by increasing supply true, rather you reduce cost, thus allowing pent-up demand which could not previously be fulfilled to do so.

            So no, not more "demand" per se, but certainly more uptake of it.

          • THwim, kindly re-read my post. Nowhere did I write what you claim; I quite clearly state that drugs are not PUSHED, the drug dealers are filling a DEMAND not creating one. Thank you!

      • But your not exactly condemning the consumption, are you?

        Really, if you were so interested in hamstringing the cartels, and thereby demonstrating some commitment to the overall health of soceity, you would be advocating for complete voluntary ceasation of consumption. This would be so much more effective because so much fewer resources would have to go to enforcement that should otherwise go to public health.

        This approach has been very successful with combating the consumption of tobacco. The consumption of narcotics needs a similar level of public shaming. Consumptionist have to look at their activities and start to acknowledge the very really costs of their actions.

        • And so prohibition worked to reduce alcohol consumption to a level where the moonshiners, and smugglers just withered away? Al Capone was just a historical fiction?

          • This discussion falls apart the instant it deteriorates into a simplistic to and frow over what is the better course of action- legalization or prohibition. Narcotic consumption is a telling indicator of the overall health of a population. I would even expand this to include alcohol consumption.

            As I ask "makes a difference", what metric are you using to gage the health of the soceity you live in? To me, when a soceity yeilds the floor to those that would circumvent the rule of law and ceeds power to opportunist out to make a fast buck, that is an Epic Fail.

            Grrrr… we get and Epic Fail.

          • “This discussion falls apart the instant it deteriorates into a simplistic to and frow over what is the better course of action – legalization or prohibition “

            Says the prohibitionist.

          • How is the consumption of narcotics not harming others? Even on the pro-Consumption side there is a subset of advocating for harm-reduction. Arn't they saying that it is harmful to consume narcotics? ____By what you have writen, shouldn't you begin to "start telling other people what they should and shouldn't do"?____As for your final analogy tobacco to potato chips, an enterprize, even when it has a legal imprinteur, that is generally harmful needs to be subject to the cold light of reason and there by approved or rejected.

          • I am not a prohibitionist.

            I am an advocate of the general welfare.

            Legalization of the consumption of narcotics is four square against the general welfare. Now, this might give me some common ground with prohibitionists, but that doesn't mean our politics come from the same place.

          • "General Welfare"? Who defines that? You?

          • Definitions are made by people. I am a person. So, yes, why not.

            The only people I have heard report of getting definitions from non-humans where doing peyote or some such thing. Good luck with that, Mr. Simpson.

          • Umm, what about all the Christians and other religious folk who believe God talks to them. I think your bias showed in that comment, or maybe you just forgot about them.
            Can't you distinguish between cannabis which is far safer than alcohol to life, limb and fetus, and hard drugs? Not that I support full prohibition of hard drugs but their serious dangers make the issue of what to do about them far more difficult than the question of what to do about cannabis should be. .

          • Since killer alcohol is not just legal but is a major part of our culture, I cannot fathom what the hell the point is in banning cannabis, thereby destroying the lives of good people, empowering murderous drug gangs who are happy to sell to kids, and not just marijuana either, costing a fortune (in borrowed money of course), making drug education a twisted up mess, forcing people to use the more dangerous drug alcohol which is a life and death matter, and making the police into the enemy in millions of people's eyes, or at the least someone you don't want to talk to unless absolutely necessary (and reducing cooperation with the tax man as well, people who feel they are being cheated bigtime don't make the best voluntary taxpayers).
            But at least you're making an effort to defend prohibition. Most prohibitionists refuse to discuss the subject, preferring to just give orders to their fellow citizens

          • Cannabis has a known correlation with causing permanent, debilitating, neurological damage in a small sub-set of people after a single use — causing them to suffer extreme and frequent anxiety attacks that can make their lives a living hell, make it nearly impossible to hold down a good job or perform many of the basic functions of life (like going to the store) that people generally take for granted. Combine that with second-hand smoke, and I think we've got an extremely good reason to be *very* cautious about legalizing cannabis.

            And yes, before you get into it, I know the difference between correlation and causation, however that does not lessen the need for caution — at least until we know for sure that the link is *not* causal.

          • "Cannabis has a known correlation with causing permanent, debilitating, neurological damage in a small sub-set of people after a single use "

            Please cite a reliable source for this zinger.

          • While those articles did mention that higher than average level of mental health issues do appear in regular users, not one of them said anything about a single use triggering a terrible mental affliction. They said that regular use may cause issues in people who are already predisposed to these problems.

            It is very clear that cannabis should not be consumed by adolescence as it can cause permanent damage if consumed regularly. But in adults, as far as I know, the risks are no worse than with alcohol.

          • Yeah, that was a 30 second google search for scholarly articles, those were low-hanging fruit. There's more information, but you have to start digging deeper into support forums for anxiety disorders and that kind of thing. When you do, you'll find a lot of anecdotal evidence from people who recount that their first anxiety attack involved their first exposure to marijuana.. and it simply didn't get better after that.

            Now I'll readily admit there's not a lot of scholarly work done on it, for a few reasons: there's very little research on the effects of marijuana use in the first place (as most of the studies say), it's difficult to get people with severe anxiety disorders to participate in research to begin with (it's not like they can make it down to the lab very well.. or even to the shrink's office).

            Also, pure speculation on my part, but I wouldn't be at all surprised to learn that the bulk of the research done on marijuana's physical effects is done by those who want to change the current status quo of marijuana.

            And I do wish people would stop making the false alchohol equivalency. When you down a bottle of JD, I don't get drunk. That's a rather key difference in this debate.

          • And I do wish people would stop making the false alchohol equivalency. When you down a bottle of JD, I don't get drunk. That's a rather key difference in this debate.

            I'm not sure I understand your point. If I were to smoke a joint, you wouldn't get high either.

            I was thinking about the practicality of legalization today. You can't walk down the street with a beer in your hand, so there isn't any real likelihood that you'd be allowed to walk down the street smoking a joint. Nor can you smoke indoors in a public place anymore, and there isn't any real likelihood that you'd be able to walk into a restaurant and light up.

            Realistically, we would probably see people being permitted to do it in private residences, or in their backyards. It is unlikely that you would be effected (any more than you already are) by other people choosing to use cannabis.

          • I have no way of explaining to you the damage this causes if it is indeed a causal relationship.

            In my opinion, the risk is simply too high, and I'm afraid there's nothing you can say that will change that.

          • Thwim, I usually agree with your posts.
            This one begged to be challenged.
            And if you really can only find anecdotal support for your opinion, it would enhance your credibility next time, were you to style it as such rather than posting it as fact.

          • Perhaps. I post it as fact because, as I've said, I've got some personal experience with it, and I *have* dug into those anxiety forums while attempting to deal with it. I did find one academic article on it some years ago when we were first attempting to figure out causes, but that involved serious hard-copy research at the local university library which I'm simply not willing to pay for again to replicate here.. (and other than confirming what I already knew from the forums, it didn't provide much more insight).

            Since then, we've moved on from trying to determine the causes to attempting to find ways to deal with it.. varying degrees of success. It's not something I'd wish on anyone.

          • tell your family member to stop blaming pot and own his/her own mental issues, unless their under the age of 16, … It is common knowledge that anxiety disorders are caused by past and sometimes traumatic experiences although pot may increase the likelyhood of panic attacks, it is certainly not solely responsible

          • "Cannabis has a known correlation with causing permanent, debilitating, neurological damage in a small sub-set of people after a single use"

            I'm allergic to peanuts so I choose not to consume them. I don't try and prevent you from doing so though. Obviously everyone responds differently to the same environment – as another poster mentioned, you are confusing advocacy for consumption with advocacy for the choice whether or not to consume.

          • And so non-prohibition eliminated cigarette smuggling?

          • Legal regulation of tobacco means we don't have thousands of people killed because of tobacco turf wars and even worse prison overcrowding due to the incarceration of smokers and the people who supply them with their fix.

            How about some sensible comments from you now Mr or Mrs Thwim ;>)

          • alas

            disparate tax regimes were/are responsible for that one

        • First of all, you need to stop conflating advocacy for legalization with advocacy for consumption. It's perfectly legal to have unprotected sex with hundreds of strangers, but that doesn't mean it's a good idea.

          Personally, I think the risks of substance use far outweigh the benefits (and the benefits are generally illusory). But the costs you refer to are often a result of their illegality.

          I'm too much a libertarian to go around telling people what they should and shouldn't do – so long as it doesn't harm others. Today it's tobacco, but will you still endorse shaming when society calls you an evil a**hole for eating a hot dog or a bag of potato chips?

          • You would also be surprised at the number of people who use cocaine and various heroin derivatives recreational and safely.

          • No, I wouldn`t. I`m equally well aquainted with the life-destroying potential of marijuana (or alcohol, etc.) use, for the right (or wrong, if you wish) people.

          • Urban myth.

        • ColdStanding, advocating for complete voluntary ceasation [sic] of consumption would be extremely naive and have little or no effect. We will always have adults who are too immature to responsibly deal with tobacco alcohol, heroin amphetamines, cocaine, various prescription drugs and even food. Our answer to them should always be: "Get a Nanny, and stop turning the government into one for the rest of us!"

          Tobacco consumption has fallen because of effective and honest education within a regulatory and legal framework.

          • Extremely naive?? I am not talking about the very small percentage of users that, due to accidental circumstances, become completely addicted after minimal exposure. No. I am talking about the recreational users that need to take a serious look at the results of their so-called harmless past time. I couldn't care less if you think you "manage" to function whilst supporting a recreational level of use, because, newsflash, you aint managing anything except to screw up yourself and your relationships.

            Start demonstrating some real responsability and be sober. Or should we have the state allow you to be intoxicated all the time, cause it is just too hard for you to be sober.

          • How interesting that you appear to think you know what drugs I use and whether or not I can handle them; projection maybe?

            Myself, I am interested only in the dangers of prohibition because at present we have a bigger "prohibition problem" than we do a "drug problem" Prohibition is actually an authoritarian War on Democracy.

            It's all about the market and cost/benefit analysis. Whether anything is good, bad, or otherwise is irrelevant! As long as there is demand for anything, there will be supply; the end! The only affect prohibiting it has is to drive the price up, increase the costs and profits, and where there is illegal profit to be made criminals thrive.

            The cost of criminalizing something no more harmful, arguably less harmful, than similar things that are perfectly legal, is simply not worth it.

            Prohibition also provides our sworn enemies with financial "aid" and tactical "comforts".

    • "Why won't the Consumptionist start organizing for reduced consumption?"

      Yo coldstanding, why don't You go hang yourself you fascist jerk?!!!

      • Geeze, you first! I can't tell: crack pot or crack pipe.

      • The organization for reduced consumption comes in the form of examining the reasons why people use drugs in the first place, and not just that the drugs are used. I'm also for the study of why "some" parents think the TV is a good babysitter, and why some people think that flying off the handle emotionally is a good idea in their relationships. There's damage in many activities in our society, and it all comes down to personal responsibility.

        It's way too easy for people to blame other things for why they act the way they do – it's always someone or something else's fault. I think THAT is the main problem in our world – we're a victim culture where the one who cries and whines the loudest gets the most attention.

  3. One thing to note when comparing the border fence to the Berlin Wall.

    The Berlin Wall was to keep communist's citizens from escaping.

    The Border Fence is to keep non-citizen's from invading.

    Big difference.

    • Also to note:

      The leadership of the communist countries failed to address the corruption in their soceities that was motivating their people attempt escape.

      The border fence is but political kabuki to placate the building opposition to the status quo

      Big similarity

      • The border fence is not political kabuki. If you think control of borders is unnecessary, you might consider suppressing your own immune system. Same result.

    • The Berlin Wall is the concept of prohibition. That's the wall that needs to be torn down. It is clear and obvious that prohibition feeds crime. Drug Cartels have no choice but to follow the money, that's business. A whole way of life and freedom may get tossed over that. That's Justice for crime on behalf of crime but Rob and Steve know that, don't they?

  4. What metric are you proposing to measure it's success or failure by? My calculation, tonnes of narcotics consumed per capita yoy, would mark it an Epic Fail.

  5. Dummies that take drugs need to have an unlimited supply provided to them for free. If they kill themselves – oh well. The smart ones will figure it out – the ones that don't aren't worth saving. Hard truths are still truths. Don't hand me aload of all the gooey, humanist crap about saving the addicts. Addicts save themselves or they don't. I hate it for them – but truth is truth.

    Take the profit out drugs and the violence goes away as well. All the other fixs are so much horse-crap. People kill other people over drug territories for the money. Cartels controlling the drug trade is all about the money. De-criminalize drugs – make them a tracked commodity at pennies a dose and track who buys. You know if someone with children is endangering those children. You know how much the addict is consuming. Simple.

    You can't legislate morality. Hasn't worked once in all human history.
    There is no "War On Drugs". Like "governmental humanity" it's an oxymoron.

    • Drugs are a "normal" part of our culture, and people start feeding their children drugs at a very early age (for colds, for attention or attitude problems). I find it interesting to note that methamphetamine is used for ADHD medications which are primarily marketed for use by children.

  6. What is the status of our own government's efforts to eliminate home grown versions of drug cartels? It seems to me some motorcycle gangs are allowed to opperate with impunity when it is widely known that they are a major artery of the drug distribution infrastructure.

    Why are they allowed to flout the law? What connections do they have? Are we looking at a similary situation to Mexico – state sponsed drug distribution, before a change in government broke the system down? If not state sponsered, per se, then state blind eye by not enforcing the law.

    • Considering the illegal traffickers are pulling in billions of dollars a year in profit it would be naive to think that these thugs do not already have some influence within our political system. What other billion dollar industry has no political ties/influence?

    • Hehe…therein lies the rub of prohibition. The way these long-standing gangs work is to keep an above-board veneer of legal behaviour. It's the regulation necessary to define prohibition that creates loopholes that allow them to operate clubhouses and run front businesses in plain sight and in accordance with the law.

      As stated, the money from the illegal side of the operation pays for their own army of lawyers and judges – THAT is how they can operate with impunity.

      Ending the prohibition on weed (which is the bread and butter) will deny them the ability to pay that 'army' and we WILL see more of them going to jail for crimes completely independent of the drug trade.

  7. End the welfare state and let those who will fall of their own will do so but don't tell me I can't protect my family or friends from outside harm.
    If you want legalization then try the Netherlands.

    • What the HELL does the welfare state have to do with anything here?
      Oh that's right absolutely nothing!

    • Netherlands has not decriminalized drugs: Portugal has. And Portugal's drug user rate and drug-related deaths HAVE DROPPED SIGNIFICANTLY.

      • Rather someone who's found it tiresome to see families gone broke support family members who refuse to help themselves. It's a very sour subject and brings instant venom to the tongue.
        It does seem once families pull the plug that the state picks up the tab for these individuals free ride in life. Injection sites, shelters kitchens and prisons wasted on those who chose to die slowly with poisons.
        Just doesn't make any sense to advocate trial and error on a one shot deal with children.

        • That shouldn't be a reason to drive you towards communism AKA Prohibition!

          Prohibition has decimated generations and criminalized millions for a behavior which is entwined in human existence, and for what other purpose than to uphold the defunct and corrupt thinking of a minority of misguided, self-righteous Neo-Puritans and degenerate demagogues who wish nothing but unadulterated destruction on the rest of us.

          Based on the unalterable proviso that drug use is essentially an unstoppable and ongoing human behavior which has been with us since the dawn of time, any serious reading on the subject of past attempts at any form of drug prohibition would point most normal thinking people in the direction of sensible regulation.

          By its very nature, prohibition cannot fail but create a vast increase in criminal activity, and rather than preventing society from descending into anarchy, it actually fosters an anarchic business model – the international Drug Trade. Any decisions concerning quality, quantity, distribution and availability are then left in the hands of unregulated, anonymous and ruthless drug dealers, who are interested only in the huge profits involved. Thus, the allure of this reliably and lucrative industry, with it's enormous income potential that consistently outweighs the risks associated with the illegal operations that such a trade entails, will remain with us until we are collectively forced to admit the obvious.

          • Here I thought religious fanatics were alone in blood lust and theology.
            You over look that there is an illegal prescription drug black-market for pain killers and opiates I'm afraid. The pharmaceutical companies are regulated and very much free enterprise. The addicts of these are also very much part of your opposed people thesis. They also will commit crimes to obtain them or allow children to starve to buy them.
            I believe my original argument more or less was no more state funding for getting high and stupid for the sole reason that you can't find anything better to do with your life.

          • Prohibition is a belief system based on lies, wishful thinking and twisted morals so that actually makes YOU "the religious fanatic"

            Why on earth do you wish to continue to worship at "The Alter of Prohibition"? So much damage is being done by this insane prohibition. Despite all the trillions we have poured into enforcement, the illegal drug trade continues to thrive. In fact it's precisely because of this costly and futile effort that the trade in illegal drugs has become one of the most lucrative industries on the planet. New criminal groups and cartels are constantly being formed in order to meet the demand in these substances, that religious fanatics and communists like yourself refuse to see regulated. Prohibition is arguably the most destructive factor our civilization has ever known. It not only makes these drugs more alluring but the trade can be tied to everything from murderous gang violence to property crime.

            How much more facts do you need to be subjected to before you decide it's time to help us take control of this crazy situation? The war on drugs can never be won, but the war on the terrorists and criminals who enrich themselves at "The Alter of Prohibition" certainly can.

            There is an illegal prescription drug black-market for pain killers and opiates precisely because of the conditions created by the prohibition of opium, and heroin. and the fear of doctors to prescribe adequate amounts of these drugs to those dying or in pain because of fear of prosecution by cruel drug war zealots like yourself.

            Nobody I know wants to give anybody free drugs, they just want to see an end to the mayhem created by prohibition, -which is costing us far more than if we gave every citizen enough free drugs to be zonked-out for eternity.

  8. The story about the dude getting kidnapped and killed as he's walking out of the church is absolutely awful.

  9. Right now marijuana cultivation, and subsequent trafficking, is a 5 billion dollar industry in BC alone. It is dominated by thugs – it is time to legalize marijuana. Take control of this industry for the benefit of small businessmen, consumers, and the communities in which they live.

    • It isn't called Lotusland for nothing.

  10. Drug prohibition is relatively new, ushered in by the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914. Prior to 1914, cocaine and heroin (and their derivatives) were legal and widely available from corner drugs stores and the Sears, Roebuck mail order catalog – and we were encouraged to use them. Our addiction rate then was less than 2 percent – same as it is today.

    Repealing drug prohibition and replacing it with a regulated market to control the sale and distribution of these substances, similar to what we have now for alcohol and tobacco, is the only way to end the insanity and inhumanity of the drug war.

  11. Canadians are far too interested in finding ways to criminalize law abiding citizens to ever care about being invaded by violent drug gangs from Mexico. Using incandescent light bulbs… driving an SUV… mixing recyclables with trash… these are considered *far* greater threats than anything a criminal cabal can muster. And, as mentioned in the article, when enforcement is considered to only *worsen* the problem, the answer is clear: let the violent criminals do as they will, and turn in your neighbour for leaving the lights on when he isn't home.

    • Hear, hear, because there is no other group who desires the status quo more than the criminal thugs in this country. All profit for them, completely controlled by them.

      Prisons are a right of passage, a recruiting ground, a f#$$$g university for these guys. The War on Drugs simply drives up the value of their product and provides a barrier for entry (further driving up commodity price) into the market.

      Let's have a War on Drugs, but let's be smart about it.

  12. If you support prohibition then you've helped trigger the worst crime wave in history.

    If you support prohibition you've a helped create a black market with massive incentives to hook both adults and children alike.

    If you support prohibition you've helped to make these dangerous substances available in schools and prisons.

    If you support prohibition you've helped raise gang warfare to a level not seen since the days of alcohol bootlegging.

    If you support prohibition you've helped create the prison-for-profit synergy with drug lords.

    If you support prohibition you've helped remove many important civil liberties from those citizens you falsely claim to represent.

    If you support prohibition you've helped put previously unknown and contaminated drugs on the streets.

    If you support prohibition you've helped to escalate Theft, Muggings and Burglaries.

    If you support prohibition you've helped to divert scarce law-enforcement resources away from protecting your fellow citizens from the ever escalating violence against their person or property.

    If you support prohibition you've helped overcrowd the courts and prisons, thus making it increasingly impossible to curtail the people who are hurting and terrorizing others.

    If you support prohibition you've helped evolve local gangs into transnational enterprises with intricate power structures that reach into every corner of society, controlling vast swaths of territory with significant social and military resources at their disposal.

    If you support prohibition then prepare yourself for even more death, corruption, sickness, imprisonment, unemployment, foreclosed homes, and the complete loss of the rule of law and the Bill of Rights.

    • Canada does not have the Bill of Rights.

      Look, you can't do drugs. If you are a user, you need to get sober and take a good look at why you feel the need to use. The actions of users are harming more than themselves. Users have to stop. Help is available. Go and get it. Encourage your friends to do so. People are loosing their lives in Mexico and even here in Canada. Governments are being up ended and the hard work of many, many people is being destroyed, and all to satisfy the cravings of users.

      Talk about personal responsability is cheap. How's about backing it up with some genuine actions?

      • People are loosing their lives because of YOUR beloved prohibition. Because "Legalized Regulation" runs afoul of YOUR twisted concept of freedom, i.e., the freedom to use the nanny state to force others to unwillingly conform to YOUR lifestyle, ways of thinking and narrow ideas on morality.

        I assume that ColdStanding is not your real name. So may I make an appeal to you: If your argument sounds ridiculous even to you, and to such an extent that you don't even want your real name attached to it, then save us all the trouble of reading your silly nonsense and find yourself another lost cause. I know you feel it sucks to see support for your beloved prohibition fading rapidly, but your stupid ideas are what got us into this mess in the first place, so to continue to spew your cognitive dissonance isn't going to help at all. Unless, that is, you enjoy being the centre of ridicule. It takes all sorts I suppose!

        • Dude, pipe down.

    • I suppose next you wish to repeal anti-smoking laws.
      Given the choice tomorrow on your daily travels find three places of work that you would wish to conduct business with in a narcotics paradise of open use. Bus driver? Cop? Doctor? Why not eh? The construction worker on crack? Teacher on hash? Nothing that could go wrong there.
      Just be glad that the oil patch is trying hard to dry workers out or oil spills would be a big shoulder shrug.

  13. If you think it started in Colombia then you could be wrong. Colombia is only one piece of the puzzle of the whole. It started at home in the 1960s. Good intentions lead to bad results. That is the problem of politics if not even democracy. Historians have proven that there never was a democracy that existed for more than 250 years. Its like a self-fulfilling prophecy and a further milestone in the history of the American system that will drag it down into insignificance. Since 1975 the West is in retreat from the East. Other blows for the economy, for example, were the failed trade agreements with South America, the second oil disaster and the bleeding in Afghanistan. These shocks will not simply go away. At the same moment, the society falls apart. This can not be repaired. Never in history could someone save a country where the society started to collapse. The fight in Afghanistan and the coming fights are a cry for help of a drowning system. Its not the end its the beginning of long suffering and maybe a new system. This system itself has simultaneously initiated its downfall. There is no system that will not collapse. There never will be. At one point in every system there are forces at work that can not be controlled. If its the money system, greed, political corruption, wrong economics, migration, population growth or decline. At a certain point it becomes uncontrollable and is doomed. You may not see this in decades but in centuries. Maybe 3,4-5 generations. Its like today when people look at the Roman Empire. The Empire was not the start of something new. In reality it was the end because in the Roman Republic the birth rate began to decline. To get the economic system going they needed the barbarians because their population grew. In the end it was a barbarian who declared himself the Emperor and the Middle Ages began. It was not the end but it was painfull and many people starved like it is today. In a few centuries – after the long civil war – people will look back and will say that John Maynard Keynes should have never been born.
    Back to topic: It began in St. Quentin when the Nuestra Family split off the Mexican Mafia. Today you can still see it. Every gang with a 13 in its name is working for the Mexican Mafia, like MS-13 or Sureños 13. They have a partnership with the 5 Families and the Aryan Brotherhood who control the Hells Angels and their compounds. They also control the Sinaloa Cartel and the Gulf Cartel who are battling the Zetas, Tijuana Cartel and Juárez Cartel who are controlled by the Nuestra Family. The Family also controls the Norteños, Bandidos, Outlaws, Mongols and their compounds. But they all have one thing in common – they hate blacks.
    It is difficult to see through all these networks but one thing is certain, they all have decided to exterminate the blacks. It is even more difficult to believe there´s no help from above or from another country because its a war against America and it is the nail in the coffin of the West because the East grows, especially the Muslim population. There´s nothing politicians can do. They all are the same. They only make things worse. History has reached a point when events overlap too fast. Not a war is defeating America – History will. I would say America is ready to be taken over. The signs point to decay and migration from East to West is its final doom.

  14. I was speaking more to the ravages of addiction, than to the long-term physiological effects. That said, it certainly compares favourably to tobacco or alcohol in terms of the latter.

    • And exactly what "ravages of addiction" may they be? I'm sure most of us must know by now that Marijuana is far less addictive than either alcohol or tobacco and also caffeine (coffee). And even if it wasn't, prohibition would still be the worse way of controlling it. -Any kid could get you some within minutes and in most neighborhoods.

      Here's a comparison chart from NIDA themselves: (note that marijuana scores lower than even coffee on "dependence", "withdrawal" and "tolerance") http://drugwarfacts.org/cms/?q=node/28

      • Read up the comment thread a bit: you'll see I'm strictly against prohibition. I don't actually care how addictive pot is: lesser addictive substances can still be the downfall for *some* individuals.

        I don't think a successful argument against prohibition needs to involve a sales job for any particular drug, so much as pointing out that restrictions do little to prevent use and harm, and create a bunch of harm in the process.

        • I once read of a guy who's downfall was frozen chickens.

          I posted the studies because you appeared to be claiming that marijuana was generally quite dangerous. My intention therefore was to balance your claims and not to do a "sales job" as you so eloquently put it.

          I need to get out for a while. Have a great day Sean!

          BTW. thanks for helping to keep our exchanges so amicable!

  15. I have to wonder if those crying for legalization of drugs actually took the time to read the article listed above. It strongly implies that gangs became much more violent as their primary resource (drugs) dwindled because each gang became desparate to maintain their status quo.

    If you legalize drugs, are the gangs simply going to say 'we'll it was a good run, let's all go back to school and become accountants!' My guess is no. Even if there is a government run drug outlet, there will still be underground drug trafficing going on. It will simply reduce the the market for gangs and cause their desparation to skyrocket.

    Legalization will not stamp out drug violence, it will fuel it.

    • "Legalization will not stamp out drug violence, it will fuel it. "

      Huh?
      Sure there's still bootleg smokes around, but it's a far cry from, say, the underground booze market during the US prohibition and it certainly doesn't result in drive-bys, nor does it pay for million-dollar estates. Obviously, it stands to reason that as the 'market' gets tighter, rival 'suppliers' will have to compete more aggressively.
      However, once we reach a tipping point where the illicit market isn't sufficient to support the number of participants then the gangbangers will HAVE to find something to do when the gravy train is derailed.

      That has nothing to do with legalization, it's basic economics. It's precisely the same reason you can buy a cod boat dirt cheap and why bootleg salmon on the west coast has taken a huge jump in price the last few years as the returns have declined.

      Tell me Mike, what happened to Capone's ilk after prohibition was repealed ? Did the associated violence increase or decrease ?

      I have yet to see a credible prohibitionist argument against the stats from Portugal or the Netherlands.

      Were I involved in the drug trade, I would fear legalization FAR more than the 'war on drugs'……

  16. Wrong Mike, fuel it? If the Government legalized it and the price got a bit cheaper, why would people goto the gangs and scum dealers to get it? Do you not see the advantage of making drugs legal? All the jobs it would create! All the money we would save by letting non-violent drug offenders out of prison! Not to mention a crap load of others positives. You need to do more research Mike.

    P.S. Also, I am allowed to drink in front of my children, but if I smoke Marijuana in front of them, its child endangerment?

    • Since when does the government providing something lower costs? I agree that the majority would get their drugs from the government, however as the number of addicts would surely increase (i'm not saying it will triple overnight or anything outrageous like that, but it will increase to some degree), some will not be able to afford the government sponsored drugs which will no doubt be cheaper. Don't kid yourselves thinking that the gangs will simply roll over. They will do whatever they need to to make sure that they stay in business. If that means putting something else in their drugs to make them cheaper, they will. How many people die each year as it is because their dealer mixes something else with their drugs to cut his costs? That will only increase. I'm not arguing whether or not drugs should be legal, but the vast majority of those who have commented hear seem to think that legalizing drugs is a solution to ending gang violence and that's absolutely insane.

      ps. you can't get alcohol poisoning watching someone drink

      • Again, its your house and your body….the Government has no place in telling you what to put into it. Be it anti-freeze or 1% milk, lol. Its freedom of choice! Its not…….you can have this choice but not this one. Know what I am getting at?

    • Second hand smoke. Believe it or not, the tobacco lobby feels your pain.

      • Basically you guys are saying alcohol has no effect on families, lol. Either or….nobody has the right to tell us what we do in our homes. Be it drinking or doing drugs. Which every person on the planet does drugs now anyways, do they not? Its time for change, its time for these non-violent offenders to be let out of prison and let them go back to their families.

  17. With the Government making drugs illegal, doesn't make it harder for anyone to get. I can go out right now and buy what ever drug I choose. You think legalizing drugs is going to make a whole bunch of people turn into addicts? Thats just obsurd! The drugs are available right now, but the problem is…we have to goto gang bangers to get it! Do you see the problem? If people don't buy from gangs and get it from stores, liscensed outlets..etc….then how are the gangs going to make any cash? Eventually the drug supply will not be coming from gangs, or violent people. Drug supply will come from regular people growing and selling the taxed drugs! Just think of all hte cash the Government would make if it taxed and regulatated drugs! The amount of money would be insane! Also, if drugs became legal….doesn't mean everyone is going to run out and start testing and get hooked. They can do this now Mike!

  18. I have never heard of anyone putting anything in drugs to make them better, most drugs are fine the way they are. That is just bad buisness. How many people die each year becuase of bad drugs….prolly a-lot! Just becuase drugs are legal doesn't mean this number will rise at all! Like I said drugs are very available now. I would just like a safer place to get them, can you understand that? Gang violence would diminish eventually if we legalized, taxed and regulated drugs.

    • not putting anything in it to make it better, putting stuff in it so that they can supply it cheaper. It already happens from time to time. I personally no someone who has died because of it.

  19. Besides Mike, its our bodies….we can put whatever we want to into them. Am I not right?

    P.S. No you can't get alcohol poisoning by watching someone drink, but…..alcohol is a major problem inside the home. I have seen alcohol destroy families and not to mention drunk drivers killing kids and adults! Does this mean that alcohol should be illegal? Hell no, I don't even drink and I think alcohol should be there if people want it. Remember what happened when the government made alcohol illegal Mike? Gave birth to gangs, murder al capone…need I go on?

  20. It is not up to the Government to decide what we do with our bodies Mike. We do not need a babysitter! This is a freedom right, nothing more. My body and I will decide what the heck I do with it! Its not up to any Government!

    Another point, drinking in front of kids is ok and smoking weed in front of them is not? Again, its not up to the Governement what people do in front of thier children! It is up to the parents! If they make wrong choices, then they have to live with them. I don't allow drinking in my house because of all the crap that comes with drinking.

    • I'm not on here to argue whether or not the government has a right to ban drugs, or whether or not they harmful. Just that the notion that legalizing drugs will end, or even greatly reduce gang violence is a fairy tail. Gangs will not roll over, they will find ways to sell drugs cheaper than the government, they will find other things to sell. They will become desperate, and as the article shows, desperate gangs = more violence.

      • SO what about the 60 year old man that grows at home and gets busted and goes to prison? Prohibition does not work. It causes more harm than it does good. Prohibition destoys families and lives. What about the 24 year old single mom that gets busted for possession? What about all these people? Let them rot in jail? Prohibition makes no sense at all. The Government sticks its nose in where it doesn't have any buisness being in the first place.

      • True gangs will undermine the government for selling cheaper drugs but at least gangs will not be making as much money. Also, the government can undermine the drug cartels by offering really low prices for the drugs.

  21. Its funny…we are allowed to get blind stinking drunk! If I smoke a joint, its illegal? I could smoke 10 joints and not even be close to how screwed up booze can get you. Marijuana is somewhere between coffee and beer…and its illegal? Its just stupid!

    Ending prohibition is not absolutely insane, its our freedom right to take whatever we want to Mike.

    The drug war has been going on for years Mike! It hasn't helped anything…just made things worse. Can't you see this? Every year they spend more and more of your tax dollars. All these Billions of dollars are just being flushed down the toilet Mike! Its time for change!

  22. It was in the news a while ago that the cartels have set up shop in Canada…this is news? This entire continent is being dismantled, piece by piece.

  23. You people wanting to legalize all drugs should be thrown in a psychiatric institute for the Criminally Insane.

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