Is legalization a better approach to fighting drugs in Mexico than the drug war?

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November 5, 2012 by natha17

Shannon O’Neil is a senior Fellow for Latin America Studies, Council on Foreign Relations. O’Neil argues that the legalization of marijuana in Mexico will further create more problems in the Mexican society by using the United States as an example to not follow regarding the legalization of alcohol. The main point that O’Neil tries to make is that once The United States legalized alcohol the costs of things such as Health Care and life insurance. She argues that people’s lives are destroyed everyday due to alcohol and that if any other drug is legalized this is the pattern that will follow. People’s health is proven to decline exponentially due to addiction to alcohol or overuse. Also using prescription drugs as an example O’Neil argues that even if Marijuana was legalized as a prescribed drug then abuse could still become very likely. She says that “In the United States, the fastest growing drug problem we have, and the drugs that kill the most individuals, are prescription drugs. These are legal drugs. They’re being used illegally.” A good point that O’Neil makes is that the United Sates has the most drugs, the most weapons, and the most users yet they don’t have violence problems occurring in the country creating chaos, she says that the solution is strengthening institutions such as the police and government of third world countries so that they can enforce the law and not become users themselves.

Jorge G. Castañeda is a Global Distinguished Professor of Politics and Latin American and Caribbean Studies, New York University; former Foreign Minister of Mexico (2000–2003). Castaneda argues on the opposite side of O’Neil by saying that legalizing marijuana would be a better resolution to the violence in Mexico. The argument that he uses is based on the actual trade of marijuana that is trying to be stopped and how this is what creates the violence. Castaneda says that if marijuana is legalized then violence wouldn’t occur because people could just trade it whenever they want. Castaneda makes sure to state that “Legalization can be part of an alternative policy; it’s certainly not an alternative policy in itself” which helps us understand that there would be limitations to the use and trade but would be effective in ending or greatly reducing violence caused by it.


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