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 Study: Pot legalization in U.S. states could hurt Mexican cartels

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PostSubject: Study: Pot legalization in U.S. states could hurt Mexican cartels   Sat 03 Nov 2012, 18:15

Study: Pot legalization in U.S. states could hurt Mexican cartels


MEXICO CITY -- This may not weigh heavily on the minds of voters in
Seattle, but if Washington and two other U.S. states decide to legalize
marijuana in next week's election, the effect on drug traffickers in
Mexico could be enormous.

Such is the suggestion of a new study by a Mexican think tank.

"It could be the biggest structural blow that [Mexican] drug
trafficking has experienced in a generation," Alejandro Hope, security
expert with the Mexican Competitiveness Institute, said in presenting
the report.

Producing and distributing marijuana inside the U.S. would supply a
less expensive and better quality drug to the millions of American who
smoke it, Hope said. Demand for Mexican pot would decline, cutting into
cartels' profits by 22% to 30%, the study calculates.

The consequences would be most dramatic, Hope added, for the powerful
Sinaloa Cartel, which is based in western Mexico and controls most of
the marijuana production.

It is estimated that around one-third of Mexican drug gangs' income is from marijuana, surpassed only and narrowly by cocaine.

Washington, Oregon and Colorado have legalization initiatives on
their ballots. Hope cited polls that showed likely approval for the
measure in Washington and Colorado and defeat in Oregon.

Taking into account taxes, markups, transportation costs and other
factors, U.S.-produced marijuana would retail at a little more than half
the cost of illegally shipped Mexican pot, Hope's study indicated.

However, he acknowledged that legalization in one or more U.S. states
would create an illicit contraband of the drug to other states --
precisely one of the main arguments used by opponents of the ballot
measures.

One unpredictable fallout is how the cartels would react. Would the
thousands of people employed in marijuana production turn to other
illegal -- and possibly more violent -- activities like kidnapping and
extortion?

Also, Hope said, the study does not consider what will happen in the
likely event that the U.S. federal government acts to impede or
challenge legalization measures approved by state voters.

But any legalization in the U.S. is an exciting prospect, he said,
because it would probably cut illegal production in Mexico and change
the debate over drug use worldwide.
Source:-
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/world_now/2012/11/pot-legalization-in-us-states-could-hurt-mexicos-cartels-study-suggests.html
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