Legalizing marijuana in Mexico would benefit mafias: Buscaglia

In his opinion Mexico needs a federal regulatory body, capital controls for legal producers of the drug and monitoring political financing to prevent cartels from laundering their funds.
Edgardo Buscaglia, professor at Columbia University, thinks that legalizing marijuana will not wipe out organized crime and violence. (Photo: Germán Espinosa / EL UNIVERSAL)
06/12/2015
12:46
Doris Gómora
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There must be at least three conditions in Mexico to legalize marijuana: a federal regulatory body, capital controls for legal producers of the drug and monitoring political financing to prevent cartels from laundering their funds, said Edgardo Buscaglia, professor at Columbia University who thinks that legalizing marijuana will not wipe out organized crime and violence.

"Today Mexico does not have these conditions, it lacks this institutional structure; if it changes now it will get a drug regulation influenced by mafias, so it will end up with more crime and dead than before," Buscaglia said in interview with EL UNIVERSAL.

He explained that violence and deaths would continue and even increase because Mexican criminal groups fight to enter illegal and legal markets with the help of corrupt businessmen and politicians, so they kill to achieve this goal.

"I am concerned that judges of the Supreme Court generate legal distortions and issue resolutions that do not fit Mexico's institutional reality. We must take things seriously and avoid thinking that legalizing psychoactive drugs is a religious dogma or a slogan that must be technically adapted,” Buscaglia said.

“Once Mexico has these conditions it could study introducing a model such as those used by Uruguay, Portugal, Washington State or Colorado, but these preconditions are necessary to avoid ending up with more dead,” he added.

In Buscaglia's opinion it is necessary to inform citizens about the health problems caused by all drugs as well as setting higher standards to prevent underage people from buying them, including cigarettes and alcohol. In his opinion all drugs, including heroine, should be regulated.

He added that if marijuana is legalized, production costs for organized crime would drop, they would have access to more consumers and buy more land to grow marijuana, so they would end up obtaining more income than before.

“Legalizing marijuana would not help Mexico get rid of the Sinaloa cartel, a multinational organization that operates in legal and illegal markets in 58 countries. There is no scientific evidence that supports that legalizing drugs weakens criminal organizations,” Buscaglia concluded.

 

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