Take That, Madame Secretary
By David Henderson
Basic economics works.
Maerker: In Mexico, there are those who propose not keeping going with this battle and legalize drug trafficking and consumption. What is your opinion?
Clinton: I don’t think that will work. I mean, I hear the same debate. I hear it in my country. It is not likely to work. There is just too much money in it, and I don’t think that–you can legalize small amounts for possession, but those who are making so much money selling, they have to be stopped.
This is from an interview of Hillary Clinton in 2011, highlighted by Reason’s Jacob Sullum.
What Clinton didn’t understand, or maybe did but wasn’t forthcoming about (although, I’m going with the former) is that legalizing drugs reduces risk on the supply side and reducing risk on the supply side shifts the supply outward, bringing down price, and, therefore, decreasing profits.
Here’s from a recent item in the San Francisco Chronicle:
Marijuana legalization may have accomplished what the War on Drugs has failed to do — put the squeeze on Mexican drug cartel activity.
The U.S. Border Patrol has released 2015 data showing that the number of marijuana seizures throughout the southwest U.S./Mexico border has fallen to the lowest level in a decade, the Washington Post reports.
Mexican manufacturers of illegal marijuana bricks have driven down prices as residents in California, Colorado, and Washington state now have safe access to reasonably affordable medical marijuana and/or recreational cannabis.
“Two or three years ago, a kilogram [2.2 pounds] of marijuana was worth $60 to $90,” a Mexican marijuana grower told NPR news in December 2014. “But now they’re paying us $30 to $40 a kilo. It’s a big difference. If the U.S. continues to legalize pot, they’ll run us into the ground.”
HT2 Mike Munger.