The Colorado and Washington votes to legalize the recreational use of marijuana left Mexico President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto wondering whether tracking down pot growers in Mexico is a futile strategy. The Dallas Morning News says in an editorial that it’s an understandable question for Peña Nieto to ask President Obama at the White House today. At the prodding of the U.S., Mexico spends billions of dollars annually to fight violent and wealthy paramilitary drug trafficking organizations. Yet the U.S., which also lays out billions of dollars to curb marijuana and other drug use, remains the main destination of marijuana produced in Mexico.
This pervasive disconnect among state, federal, and global drug policies should prompt a serious re-evaluation of drug strategies, the newspaper says. Frustration over violence and illicit drug profits has grown dramatically in recent years. Former Mexico President Vicente Fox called for Mexico to legalize the production, distribution and sale of all drugs. Departing Mexico President Felipe Calderón said ending the drug trade is “impossible,” adding that it's up to the U.S. to reduce its levels of drug use or use “market mechanisms” to reduce the flow of drug money to Mexico. Twenty-four states and the District of Columbia have decriminalized marijuana possession and medical use of the substance, which places those states in conflict with federal drug laws. This is an untenable clash, says the Morning News, but it also reflects a growing consensus here and globally that anti-drug strategies to date aren't working.