The Mexican Supreme Court heard an argument for the legalization of marijuana on the grounds that the use is a fundamental human right. The court made their decision, in early November, that marijuana possession and use is a right of the individual on the basis of personality development. Unlike the United States Supreme Court the Mexican Supreme Court’s decisions do not automatically become the law of the land. The decision only affects the four plaintiffs involved, and one of them reportedly doesn’t even use the substance. Although it is not the law of the land yet; it is indicative of future drug law changes within Mexico, and relations the United States has with its southern neighbors.
Currently there are four states that have complete legalization of the plant, sixteen more with medical availabilities, and five more states will have recreational marijuana on the ballot this upcoming November. All this is done against the federal government’s orders. The drug is currently a schedule 1 narcotic under the DEA, making it extremely illegal. With the rise of legalization by state paired with the eventual legalization in Canada, as promised by the newly elected prime-minister Trudeau, the United States federal government is put in an interesting situation.
The reason that Mexico has a pivotal importance in the future of Marijuana legalization is that Mexico is notorious for their drug cartels who smuggle in narcotics to an American market. The drug industry is huge, it is estimated that 1.5 billion flows out of the U.S from Marijuana sales alone into the hands of the cartels. Will the legalization take money away from the cartels? Or, will it just increase the acceptance of drugs in culture and lead to more addiction problems? Many conservative groups cite the poverty in Mexico as evidence on why it should not be legalized. The president, Enrique Nieto, is also against the legalization on the grounds of promoting public welfare and health.
Supporters of the legalization of Marijuana in the United States often talk about the taxes that legal pot brings to the state. The reality is only 53 million was brought in by Colorado at a rate of 28 percent in its first year. This is lower than the numbers projected by a significant portion, about 17 million less. This tells the DEA and other organizations that there still is a black market for Marijuana even in the areas where it is legal because of the expense. This is a red flag for the federal government on how to handle the availability of marijuana to the general public.
If complete legalization within the United States occurs black market will still exist for the cartels, bringing concern to the federal government. With national borders permeable how will the U.S government keep the rule of law on the Border States? One of the states considering legalization is Arizona. It can be deducted that Arizona can become the pathway to the American markets for the cartels. This does not even take into account the Marijuana that may flow in from our northern border. The United States has two options, to adopt legalization or increase the regulations and expand the war on drugs.