OUT FROM PROHIBITION’S SHADOW: ALTERNATIVE DRUG POLICY AND MEXICAN STABILITY
Looney, Robert E.
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The purpose of this thesis is twofold: to determine the success of alternative drug policy and to provide a foundation for better assessment of drug policy success in promoting stability. Mexico has the world’s most lucrative drug trafficking corridor. Decades of militarized prohibitionist drug eradication and interdiction have destabilized Mexico and have actually contributed to its favorable drug trafficking environment. However, alternative drug policies may offer a shift from this vicious circle. In light of this, this thesis pursues this question: How do North American alternative drug control policies affect Mexican stability? The problem is complex. I focus particularly on the effects of marijuana legalization and drug decriminalization on Mexican stability. I use an incentives-based systems approach to the actors involved and incorporate the factors of geopolitics, political decentralization, free-market capitalism, and complex interdependence to develop a foundation for a more comprehensive analysis. I find that the Sinaloa cartel has been the most affected by legalization, and that legalization has potentially made organized crime less profitable in general. Alternative drug policies do indeed affect Mexican stability, but the effects vary significantly. The United States and Mexico should focus efforts on developing a model for more comprehensive analysis on complexities of the illicit environment.
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