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Will Legalizing Marijuana End Mexico's Drug War? Well, 'Maybe Not'

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Photo by Tony the Misfit via Flickr

Photo by Tony the Misfit via Flickr
With Prop 19, the marijuana legalization effort, heading to the November ballot, there's a lot being thrown out on both sides of the issue. USC's Neon Tommy has done a fact check regarding statements from proponents of the yes and no sides, which is definitely needed in any campaign. Of the many points analyzed -- jail, health, economy, etc -- the most interesting is the oft-heard claim that Mexico's drug war will end. But Neon Tommy's research indicates a "not so fast" conclusion.

"Mexican cartels make nearly 60 percent of their revenue by selling marijuana to the U.S., so it’s true that their profits would be significantly hurt if pot were something any American could buy at the corner store," the online site noted. "But Mexico also supplies the U.S. with cocaine and methamphetamine, two drugs we’re not about to legalize because of the horrific public health repercussions. So unless demand for drugs in the entire Western hemisphere was somehow curbed, it’s not likely that Mexican drug lords would find a different career path anytime soon."

Whether it will really end or hurt the drug war will be hard to predict, but some law enforcement believe the marijuana black market needs to be stopped.

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"By keeping marijuana illegal, we aren't preventing anyone from using it," said Stephen Downing, a retired LAPD deputy chief of police who is a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. "The only results are billions of tax-free dollars being funneled into the pockets of bloodthirsty drug cartels and gangs who control the illegal market."