|Mexican Army soldiers stand at attention, desperately trying to keep a "military bearing" as the intoxicating smoke from a buttload of marijuana being burned billows over them in Ciudad Juarez|
Unfortunately, the talks concluded with no reference to the most sensible strategy for reducing that violence: removing marijuana from the criminal market, thus depriving drug cartels of their main source of income and strife.
"The only solution to the current crisis is to tax and regulate marijuana," said Aaron Houston, director of government relations for the Marijuana Policy Project. "Once again, Mexican and U.S. officials are ignoring the fact that the cartels get 70 percent of their profits from marijuana."
|Aaron Houston: "It's time to face the reality that the U.S.'s marijuana prohibition is fueling a bloodbath in Mexico and the United States"|
"It's time to face the reality that the United States' marijuana prohibition is fueling a bloodbath in Mexico and the United States," Houston said.
The Obama Administration has said it will provide the Mexican government with $1.4 billion in aid to combat the Mexican drug cartels, in addition to seeking $310 million in its 2011 budget for drug enforcement funds to our southern neighbor.
"It is illogical, at best, to continue throwing money at this failed policy," Houston said. "The government will never eliminate the demand for marijuana, but it can put an end to the monopoly drug cartels currently hold on America's largest cash crop."
"Lifting marijuana prohibition would take away the cartels' largest source of income and the main reason for the horrifically brutal violence perpetrated by rival drug groups," Houston said.
Last year, the Mexican border city Juarez recorded 2,670 murders. Among the growing numbers of voices calling for an end to marijuana prohibition in order to quell the violence are former Mexican presidents Vicente Fox and Ernest Zedillo, as well as the former leaders of Brazil and Colombia.