DEA Claims Repealing Prohibition Fosters Organized Crime

its 2013 “National Drug Threat Assessment,” released
today, the Drug Enforcement Administration
that marijuana legalization will be a shot in the arm
for organized crime:

TCOs [transnational criminal organizations] and criminal groups
will increasingly exploit the opportunities for marijuana
cultivation and trafficking created in states that allow
“medical marijuana” grows and have legalized marijuana sales
and possession. 

That’s a pretty bold claim, inasmuch as marijuana produced and
distributed by, say, state-licensed growers and retailers in
Colorado and Washington is marijuana that is
not produced and distributed by, say, murderous
Mexican drug cartels. In fact, antiprohibitionists often argue that
legalizing cannabis commerce weakens organized crime by
cutting into its revenue. But here the DEA is saying criminals will
in fact welcome legalization, because it will enable
them to get more involved in cultivation and
trafficking. Exactly how that will work is a bit mysterious, but
here is the basic outline of the DEA’s argument, as told from the
cartels’ perspective:

Phase 1: Legalize marijuana.

Phase 2: ?

Phase 3: Profit!

Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority, does not
get it, probably because of all that reefer he’s been smoking. “The
DEA’s claim that marijuana legalization somehow creates moneymaking
opportunities for the cartels and gangs that largely control
today’s black market for the drug is simply absurd,” he says. “As
prohibition comes to an end and as the market is brought
aboveground, more and more consumers will make the obvious choice
to purchase their marijuana from safe and legal businesses rather
than from violent crime networks that don’t test and label their
products for potency. I suppose the DEA would have us believe that
ending alcohol prohibition somehow created ‘opportunities’ for
gangsters to make even more money selling legal booze than when it
was illegal and they were the only source.”

The DEA may be taking its cues from former Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton, who a couple of years ago insisted
that we can’t legalize the drug trade because “there is just too
much money in it.” Also too many criminals!

from Hit & Run

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