Mexican drug cartels face their biggest threat yet

Thursday, October 08, 2009

This, right? Drug cartels are getting outgunned, outmanned, outfoxed, outsmarted by a massive display of force from law enforcement, right?

Eh, not exactly. Their threat comes from something more like this.

That's because drug cartels are facing stiff competition from tiny mom-and-pop stores in the US due to laws in certain states (13 in total, may become 14 if Maryland follows) that make medical marijuana legal and thus enable businesses to create it within the US. That competition is turning out to be the biggest threat to their bottom line they have faced so far.

An article I found a few months ago from 1932 provides some interesting perspective on the current debate, with prominent senators at the time arguing that legalizing beer and taxing it would in effect be a "recognition of crime". Looks a bit silly today.

One area though where drug cartels actually provide an indirect benefit (in my opinion) is their usage of so-called narco subs, specially made craft that are half ship and half sub, that spend the day partially submerged and then move around at night as they attempt to bring their cargo of cocaine to the US to sell. The reason this is a benefit? Because if drug cartels can use them to smuggle cocaine into the country then terrorists can use them to smuggle in something much more dangerous, and the more practice law enforcement has with identifying the craft the better. The drug cartels end up providing them with some much needed practice in identifying the slippery ships.


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