The legalization of marijuana is a controversial topic that leads to much debate over the merits of such a decision. The debate has even extended to the Mary Washington campus over its “one-strike” policy on drug use.
Many students, and even some faculty, are trying to have the policy revised. While the arguments for and against legalization are well known, the fact remains that there is a violent drug war occurring on our nation’s doorstep.
According to the Los Angeles Times, there have been 9,903 drug war-related deaths since January 2007, when Mexico officially declared an active war on drugs. There have been more fatalities in Mexico’s drug war than the United States has had during the War in Iraq.
Just this week, 10 people between the ages of eight and 21 years old were gunned down with machine guns and hand grenades by drug runners when they refused to stop their vehicle and allow themselves to be used as drug mules.
The U.S. Consulate in Monterrey, Mexico was forced to close because of the violence, which has overflowed into the United States. Innocent victims are caught in deadly shoot-outs between cartels and the Mexican army. Entire families have been kidnapped from their homes in the U.S. and dragged across the border.
The U.S. government has been sending money to help Mexico fight the cartels, but U.S. citizens have been giving billions more to the cartels through the purchase of marijuana and other illegal drugs.
Now that there is a literal war on drugs, the United States and its citizens can no longer support both sides of the escalating conflict. The $20 spent on a nickel bag may seem like harmless weekend fun, but cartels are killing innocent people to make that pot available.
There is no way to know for sure where the marijuana you buy comes from. Even if it was grown locally, the seeds had to come from somewhere. Smoking pot is not a victimless crime. Just because we can’t see the far-reaching consequences of our actions, doesn’t mean there aren’t any. The people running these cartels are terrible and ruthless criminals, abducting families as bargaining chips while they wage war on the Mexican government.
Mexico’s economy has been floundering since the early ’90s. With a poor economic situation, rampant inflation and now a war between the powerful cartels and the Mexican government, the United States could have a failed state at its back door if Mexico is unable to get the situation under control quickly.
At the present time, to legalize marijuana would be to legitimize these ruthless thugs and justify their violent business. While the economic argument for legalization may be compelling, we cannot put dollars and cents over the lives of the murdered innocents. These horrific criminals must be brought to justice and we, as American citizens, must stop financing their atrocities.
I understand the arguments for legalization. Sure, marijuana is no more harmful than alcohol or tobacco. Sure, it backlogs our legal system with insignificant offenders. But we must consider the big picture and consider the slaughtered thousands in the U.S. and Mexico. Until the U.S. does legalize marijuana, we must stop using it for the sake of a better global community.
In this day and age, there are very few clear lines of good and evil. It isn’t often that we have a chance to combat evil. The men running these drug cartels are ruthless, coldblooded murderers. The drug cartels are a clear enemy and a threat to the stability of Mexico and the security of the United States.
We have a chance to influence the outcome of history by simply refusing to use marijuana and other drugs. If the cartels no longer have a source of income from us, they will be unable to fund their violent operations and will lose the war. Mexico will be restabilized and the United States will be a safer place to live if we don’t have to worry about sharing a border with a failed state.
As small and insignificant as one person abstaining from drug use may seem, as a collective, it can have a disastrous impact on one of the few true evils of this world. Therefore, I must urge everyone to obey the law. If you support the legalizing of marijuana, fight for it in our state and federal legislatures. Call or write your congressman asking them to support legalization too.
Until marijuana is actually legal, don’t do business—however indirect—with these ruthless, violent criminals.