In June 2011, the Report of the Global Commission on Drug Policy declared, “The global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world” (Global Commission on Drugs). After 40 years and one trillion dollars spent to reduce illicit drug use, studies have found that Americans are using drugs just as frequently as they were when this “war” began. This dependency has created a demand for illicit drugs that fuels the powerful drug cartels of Mexico.


The United State’s failed war on drugs has created problems in both the Unites States and in Mexico. The United States “War on Drug” focuses on law enforcement and punishment to curtail drug use (O’Rourke and Byrd, 92). This method has cost taxpayers enormously without any proof that it is actually succeeding. The United States is also suffering from the growing danger of their next-door neighbor Mexican cartels. The mark-up of drugs sold in the United States is creating huge opportunity for Mexican drug cartels.

Currently, the United States is helping Mexico through the Mérida Initiative; however, it has seen little to no success.  As long as there is a demand for drugs, there will always be a cartel to supply it. If the United States hopes to help Mexico we must legalize marijuana. In no means is this paper assuming that legalizing marijuana will destroy the drug cartels, but it would cripple them. Only after the United States stops contributing to the problem can we help Mexico fix it. 

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