Colorado and/or Washington state could legalize marijuana tomorrow. A recent Spanish-language study by the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness (IMCO) found that an American state legalizing marijuana would deal a major blow to Mexico's drug cartels. An Economist blogger in Mexico City summarizes:
[The study] estimates that Mexico’s traffickers would lose about $1.4 billion of their $2 billion revenues from marijuana. The effect on some groups would be severe: the Sinaloa "cartel" would lose up to half its total income, IMCO reckons. Exports of other drugs, from cocaine to methamphetamine, would become less competitive, as the traffickers’ fixed costs (from torturing rivals to bribing American and Mexican border officials) would remain unchanged, even as marijuana revenues fell.
Legalisation could, in short, deal a blow to Mexico’s traffickers of a magnitude that no current policy has got close to achieving. The stoned and sober alike should bear that in mind when they cast their votes on Tuesday.