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Would Legalizing Marijuana be Good for Mexico?
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Dear Mexican: Los Marijuanos played at Seattle Hempfest years ago. Are they like the best pro-hemp Mexican band out there? Are there other Mexican hemp-related bands or products out there that I don’t know about?

Inquring Hempsters Want to Know!

Dear Gabacho: Remember Platoon, and how the troops were broken up between the “tweakers”—those who enjoyed the ganga while singing along to “The Tracks of My Tears” by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles—and the angry drunks who were known as “juicers.” The Mexican is definitely the latter—I’m like the old men in the rancho who drink 180-proof sugarcane alcohol and can’t be bothered with herb, so my knowledge or products is limited to whatever my home newspaper plugs on potplus.com. That said, #respect to those of ustedes who do smoke—Mexican musicians have been on that bit long before “Reefer Man.” “La Cucaracha” has a line about how former President Victoriano Huerta could no longer walk because he lacked marijuana pa’ fumar—to smoke. “El Tírili” (The Reefer Man), by Don Tosti’s Pachuco Boogie Boys, warns people about the dangers of beer, wine and tequila. But el zacatito? The grass? “Ayyyy,” Tosti sighs, before scatting so furiously he makes Cab Calloway seem as restrained as Paul Robeson. But the best Mexican musical marijuana masterpiece is “Marihuana Boogie,” by the legendary Lalo Guerrero, who combined the best of Benny Goodman and Cypress Hill to sing about the pleasure of getting lit while dancing your nalgas off. Too bad narcocorridos don’t have as much grace…

Do you think legalizing marijuana in Mexico would be a good way to create jobs and better their economy?

Chapo Chupa

Dear Pocho: Mexico just legalized medicinal marijuana nationwide, which will come as news to the abuelitas that have used marijuana-infused alcohol to treat sore joints and muscles for centuries. While the Mexican is for the decriminalization of all drugs everywhere, any economy created by Mexico making marijuana a legal industry will become subservient to the real marijuanos: Americans. And we all know how well NAFTA worked out for Mexico.

 

I’ve heard that marijuana is a made-up name for smokeable cannabis. It comes from Maria and Juan. This pejorative term was concocted in the 1930s to stigmatize pot smoking with Mexicans in the Southwest. During the 1930s Great Depression, there was a surplus of labor in America and attempts were made to arrest Mexicans for their smoking habits and deport them. Any truth to this?

Etymology Edna

ORDER IT NOW

Dear Gabacha: Only that there was a Great Depression. No one—not even the Real Academia Española—knows the etymology of “marijuana,” and it’s found in Mexican newspapers going back to the 19th century. Marijuana use in the United States has always been racialized, but gabachos have also stuck the demon weed to Filipinos, blacks, and “Hindoos.” But, as most illicit, wonderful things, marijuana only became acceptable when white people began using it. I’d end with a joke, but my marijuana humor begins and ends with a line that once came out in a Cheech and Chong movie: “Hey, that’s a pretty nice car, man. Better get it back to the circus before they find out it’s gone.” Um, yeah…

 

Ask the Mexican at themexican@askamexican.net, be his fan on Facebook, follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano or follow him on Instagram @gustavo_arellano!

 
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  1. anarchyst says:

    It will be difficult to get total legalization in the USA as the corrections/judicial/police state would have to shrink.
    You see, there is much at stake in legalization…government JOBS.

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  2. What about a federal bill that repeals federal criminalization of marijuana for adults — returning the issue to the People of each State — but INCREASES federal sentences for methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin?

    Cynically speaking, that could be the way to gain freedom in this area for tens of millions of peaceful marijuana users while still preserving the jobs of our federal prison guards, prosecutors, and probation officers, essentially buying off them and their thug unions so they will at least not oppose the legislation.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jim Bob Lassiter
    There's no such thing as an incarcerated "peaceful marijuana user" in the US. Anybody imprisoned for being a "a peaceful marijuana user" is there because of a plea bargain involving dismissals of several other non-MJ charges, a probation violation (usually from a case involving other serious underlying convictions) or their criminal record in general sucks.

    IOW, they are there because of what the are, not for a little peaceful pot smoking.
  3. Cato says:

    One of the worst things about prohibition is that it provides vast amounts of money to the gangsters who have made Mexico a nightmare these past 10 or more years. Legalization of marijuana would be a step in the right direction–it would reduce the amount of money that feeds them–but we would need to legalize everything before the violence would really stop.

    Read More
    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
    Inclined to agree with you on both counts, Cato.

    Shouldn't we expect that Americans are / will be importing less marijuana from Mexico as non-medical becomes legal by state law (with federal law largely irrelevant) for more and more of the U.S. population? * Hopefully a lot less.

    Looks like pot is legal for adults 21 and over for 100 million Americans or more:

    * #1 California, pop. 40 million
    * #4 New York, 20 million
    * Ohio 11.6 million
    * Massachusetts, maybe 7 million
    * #13 Washington State 7.3 million
    * #22 Colorado,5.6 million
    * #36 Nevada, 3 million
    * #42 Maine, 1 .3 million

    Legalizing marijuana here keeps those dollars more within the USA and reduces our enrichment of savage Mexican drug cartels. But you're right, the Mex cartels will continue to have enormous profits -- which they can keep using to buy serious weaponry, bribe politicians and police and army, and shower "largesse" on poor communities down there.
  4. On the songs only one quibble. You left out the classic “Free Mexican Air Force”. We’re flying tonight :)

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  5. @Cato
    One of the worst things about prohibition is that it provides vast amounts of money to the gangsters who have made Mexico a nightmare these past 10 or more years. Legalization of marijuana would be a step in the right direction--it would reduce the amount of money that feeds them--but we would need to legalize everything before the violence would really stop.

    Inclined to agree with you on both counts, Cato.

    Shouldn’t we expect that Americans are / will be importing less marijuana from Mexico as non-medical becomes legal by state law (with federal law largely irrelevant) for more and more of the U.S. population? * Hopefully a lot less.

    Looks like pot is legal for adults 21 and over for 100 million Americans or more:

    * #1 California, pop. 40 million
    * #4 New York, 20 million
    * Ohio 11.6 million
    * Massachusetts, maybe 7 million
    * #13 Washington State 7.3 million
    * #22 Colorado,5.6 million
    * #36 Nevada, 3 million
    * #42 Maine, 1 .3 million

    Legalizing marijuana here keeps those dollars more within the USA and reduces our enrichment of savage Mexican drug cartels. But you’re right, the Mex cartels will continue to have enormous profits — which they can keep using to buy serious weaponry, bribe politicians and police and army, and shower “largesse” on poor communities down there.

    Read More
    • Replies: @MarkinLA
    Given the high profit margins, legalization, although I do think it better than not, will have the Mexican cartels still importing their pot trying to undercut legally US grown pot. Legalization will mean that once the Mexican pot is in the US it will be harder to control - was it Mexican or US grown? So there will still be an incentive to distribute in the US and a reason for cartels to kill each other - although maybe not as violently and as often.
  6. MarkinLA says:
    @RadicalCenter
    Inclined to agree with you on both counts, Cato.

    Shouldn't we expect that Americans are / will be importing less marijuana from Mexico as non-medical becomes legal by state law (with federal law largely irrelevant) for more and more of the U.S. population? * Hopefully a lot less.

    Looks like pot is legal for adults 21 and over for 100 million Americans or more:

    * #1 California, pop. 40 million
    * #4 New York, 20 million
    * Ohio 11.6 million
    * Massachusetts, maybe 7 million
    * #13 Washington State 7.3 million
    * #22 Colorado,5.6 million
    * #36 Nevada, 3 million
    * #42 Maine, 1 .3 million

    Legalizing marijuana here keeps those dollars more within the USA and reduces our enrichment of savage Mexican drug cartels. But you're right, the Mex cartels will continue to have enormous profits -- which they can keep using to buy serious weaponry, bribe politicians and police and army, and shower "largesse" on poor communities down there.

    Given the high profit margins, legalization, although I do think it better than not, will have the Mexican cartels still importing their pot trying to undercut legally US grown pot. Legalization will mean that once the Mexican pot is in the US it will be harder to control – was it Mexican or US grown? So there will still be an incentive to distribute in the US and a reason for cartels to kill each other – although maybe not as violently and as often.

    Read More
  7. cheech says:

    Mota is big in Mexico, it’s a popular and widely accepted part of the culture.

    Read More
  8. A plant can’t be illegal.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jim Bob Lassiter
    Try telling that to some guy who got busted for planting some corn from seeds he saved from last year's crop of Monsanto corn.
  9. @RadicalCenter
    What about a federal bill that repeals federal criminalization of marijuana for adults -- returning the issue to the People of each State -- but INCREASES federal sentences for methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin?

    Cynically speaking, that could be the way to gain freedom in this area for tens of millions of peaceful marijuana users while still preserving the jobs of our federal prison guards, prosecutors, and probation officers, essentially buying off them and their thug unions so they will at least not oppose the legislation.

    There’s no such thing as an incarcerated “peaceful marijuana user” in the US. Anybody imprisoned for being a “a peaceful marijuana user” is there because of a plea bargain involving dismissals of several other non-MJ charges, a probation violation (usually from a case involving other serious underlying convictions) or their criminal record in general sucks.

    IOW, they are there because of what the are, not for a little peaceful pot smoking.

    Read More
  10. @Father O'Hara
    A plant can't be illegal.

    Try telling that to some guy who got busted for planting some corn from seeds he saved from last year’s crop of Monsanto corn.

    Read More
  11. IvyMike says:

    Cool, you quoted the only funny line in any of the Cheech and Chong movies..

    Read More
  12. Calogero says:

    Mexico’s main problem is that it does not allow mass immigration from the third world like the US does. Mexico would be a first world superpower if they had more Africans, East and South Asians, and especially Middle Easterners.

    Read More
  13. Don’t just Ask any old Mexican, ask Cheech Marin:

    This whole, cough, society, with this, cough, cough, Drug War, and the, cough cough, whole, thing with the …

    cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough ….

    I was, cough, cough … saying that, man, that whole scene with the …

    cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough
    cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough
    cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough
    cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough
    cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough
    cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough
    cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough
    cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough
    cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough
    cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough ….

    Read More
  14. Agent76 says:

    Whatever anyone does do not look where it has already being done.

    7/05/2011 Ten Years After Decriminalization, Drug Abuse Down by Half in Portugal

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2011/07/05/ten-years-after-decriminalization-drug-abuse-down-by-half-in-portugal/

    Jul 19, 2012 What Happened When Portugal Decriminalized *ALL* Drugs?

    “The government in Portugal has no plans to back down. Although the Netherlands is the European country most associated with liberal drug laws, it has already been ten years since Portugal became the first European nation to take the brave step of decriminalizing possession of all drugs within its borders—from marijuana to heroin, and everything in between.

    There are no less than *SIX MAJOR INDUSTRIES* whose income is threatened by cannabis legalization.

    ✓ Cancer Treatment Industry

    ✓ Biotech Industry

    ✓ Prison Industry

    ✓ Asset seizure & Forfeiture Industry

    ✓ Alcohol Industry

    ✓ Pharmaceutical Industry

    Cannabis suppression is about *CONTROL* and comes from the industries affected or potentially affected. Any one by itself has the lobbying power to perpetuate suppression and keep it illegal. I doubt the coffee industry is worried about it.

    Read More
  15. TG says:

    The decriminalization of all drugs everywhere? I sympathize with your sentiment. But be careful what you wish for.

    A while back it looked like Mexico was going to become prosperous, but that would have meant high wages, and that won’t do. So the Mexican elites deliberately created a population explosion, encouraging Mexican women to have enormous families to make Mexico ‘bigger and better’ etc.etc.

    As expected, flooding the labor market does what flooding any market does: it drove the price of labor down, and profits up. Mexico has created a record number of billionaires, and wages that are now lower than China’s.

    But also instability. Mexican poverty is so extreme that it needs the safety valve of immigration to the USA to avoid revolution or collapse. And the illegal drug trade is part of that.

    Suppose all drugs were made legal? The criminal cartels would be out of business. As you say, big American conglomerates would take over.

    And what will all these newly unemployed members of the illegal drug trade do? Will they just go home and starve to death quietly? Not likely. They will turn to kidnapping and piracy, count on it.

    And we might actually end up missing the old drug cartels…

    Read More
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