Mexico’s Drug War Is Not Ours To End

Alejandro Hope pours cold water on the idea that legalizing marijuana in the US would end the bloodshed south of the border:

But surely Mexico would experience less violence if marijuana was legal? Yes, to some extent, but the decline wouldn’t be sufficient to radically alter the country’s security outlook. In all likelihood, marijuana production and marijuana-related violence are highly correlated geographically. Marijuana output is concentrated in five states (Chihuahua, Durango, Sinaloa, Michoacan and Guerrero) that accounted for approximately a third of all homicides committed in Mexico in 2012. Assuming improbably that half of all murders in those areas were marijuana-related, we can estimate that the full elimination of the illegal marijuana trade would reduce Mexico’s homicide rate to 18 per 100,000 inhabitants from 22 — still about four times the U.S. rate.