Legalizing Pot Won't Cut Down on Crime: Study

Study: Legalizing pot won't hinder Mexican cartels

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A narcotics task force discovered 25,000 marijuana plants in North County on Tuesday.

    A new study that looks at what will happen to the Mexican drug trade if voters approve Proposition 19 shows little hope for a decrease in drug related violence.
     
    Next month, California voters will decide whether to legalize and tax pot for recreational use.

    The study by the nonpartisan RAND Drug Policy Research Center found drug traffickers will likely lose customers if California makes pot legal, but they won't lose money because Californians already grow their own pot.

    The state makes up one-seventh of the country's marijuana market even before pot goes legal. And Californians buy domestic instead of the smuggled variety, according to the study.

    A pot grower out of Santa Cruz who grows it for a cooperative says that makes sense to her.

     "We're already growing our own in California, so it's hard to see how we'd impact Mexico's market all that much," said Valerie Corral.

     "This report shows that despite the millions spent on marketing the idea, legalized marijuana won't reduce the revenue or violence generated by Mexican drug trafficking organizations,"  U.S. drug czar Gil Kerlikowske told AP. "The bottom line is that increased access and availability to marijuana jeopardizes the health and safety of our citizens."

    Others who support Prop 19 said they find the study hard to believe. "It's ridiculous to claim that ending prohibition won't have a big financial impact on these violent criminals' bottom lines," said Stephen Downing, a supporter of Prop. 19 and a former Los Angeles Police Department deputy chief of police.

    Former police of chief in San Jose Joseph McNamara questions the premise of the study.  He says the Prop. 19's goal isn't aimed at resolving Mexico's drug violence, and questioned RAND's assumptions about marijuana use and sales.
         
    "Can a state facing a $19 billion dollar deficit casually pass up a chance to tax a product that escapes taxation only because it is illegal?" he asked.