Of 3 states poised to legalize, Oregon's Measure 80 will do the most damage to cartels
A new study by a leading international think tank, the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness, finds that legalizing and taxing marijuana in any one of the U.S. states poised to do so on Nov. 6 would significantly hurt Mexican drug-cartel profits.
The study, titled, "If Our Neighbors Legalize," asserts that marijuana regulation in Colorado, Oregon or Washington could cut Mexican drug cartel profits by up to 30 percent. The study goes on to point out that Oregon, following passage of Measure 80, would cause $1.8 billion in losses to Mexico's violent and destabilizing cartels.
|Yes On 80|
|Roy Kaufmann, Yes On 80: "Measure 80 is a smart, workable approach of legalization through regulation"|
"Measure 80 isn't just about making communities and kids in Oregon safer, it's about Oregon contributing to our national security," said Yes On 80 spokesman Roy Kaufmann. "Mexico has lost more than 50,000 lives to the drug war, and the United States has lost precious law-enforcement lives and billions of dollars with a failed approach to marijuana. Measure 80 is a smart, workable approach of legalization through regulation."
The findings support and build on similar results found by a recent RAND Corporation study on the topic. The Mexican think-tank report only examines the possible impact of marijuana regulation in one U.S. state or another; the impact of two or three states legalizing marijuana would be much greater.
"What we have to bear in mind is that not only has the 40-plus years of the so-called war-on-drugs been an abysmal failure, but it has harshly impacted communities of color and women," said Carla Hanson, chairwoman of the Multnomah County Democratic Party and a former police officer. "Incarceration rates and the lifelong stigma associated with a criminal conviction have exponentially affected these communities, but the revolving door of offense, arrest and conviction has produced not one iota of benefit to society as a whole.
"It is time Oregon took a leading role in ending this arcane prohibition," Hanson said. "We are in the 21st century, it's time we acted like it."
Measure 80 will direct 90 percent of tax revenues from the sales of cannabis at state-licensed stores to the state's general fund to pay for schools and social services.
"In every war there are victims," said Serra Frank, founder of Moms for Marijuana International. "The victims of the Drug War are not only those unjustly incarcerated for a harmless plant.
"The victims are also the families and loved ones of these so-called criminals," Frank said. "Many of these victims have spouses, or are somebody's mommy or daddy. Every single one of them is somebody's child. The war on drugs is tearing our families apart."
By legalizing, taxing and regulating Oregon's existing marijuana industry, Measure 80's sponsors said it will greatly diminish the marijuana black market while allowing marijuana businesses - from farmers to producers to cannabis-industry service businesses - to operate legitimately, pay taxes and hire employees.
"Taxing and regulating marijuana is just common sense," said Law Enforcement Against Prohibition representative Madeline Martinez. "Continuing to fight a war against our nation's poor and people of color in the name of safety isn't just insane, it goes against real American values."