On February 13th, a march broke out in Mexico City that was solidly anti-Trump. It is estimated that around 20,000 people rallied on Mexico City’s main avenue, Paseo de la Reforma, in a march focused predominantly on President Trump’s most costly and gaudy campaign promise, the building of a wall between Mexico and America.
Since the election, relations with Mexico have continued to crumble. During the presidential race we heard President Trump describe Mexican immigrants as mostly rapists and criminals, and more recently we’ve seen the damage of the massive ICE raids that have begun tearing families apart. There have even been Twitter spats between President Trump and Mexico’s current president, Enrique Peña Nieto, which led to the cancellation of a meeting between the two.
Research shows that drug reform policies have created a dramatically large drop in the amount of marijuana seizures along the border, recently at their lowest level in almost a decade. This is largely due to competition from the U.S., with domestic production in places like California, Colorado, and Washington. In December of 2014, NPR spoke with a grower in Mexico and he very honestly explained, “if the U.S. continues to legalize pot, they’ll run us into the ground.” Prices have dropped and people are looking for higher quality, which both the U.S. and Canada have been able to provide.
It would seem the best way to approach the issue with respect to our neighbors to the south is to keep an open mind. Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto, seems to have realized this. In his recent efforts to legalize marijuana, he said, “Our country has suffered, as few have, the ill effects of organized crime tied to drug trafficking. Fortunately, a new consensus is gradually emerging worldwide in favor of reforming drug policies.”
This could not only be a move in the right direction to curb some of the cartel violence and reduce the misplaced need for the impending border wall, but it could also become an amazing cash crop for Mexico. Just last year the U.S made an estimated 28 billion in tax revenue from the marijuana industry – job creation and tax revenue that many communities in Mexico could benefit from.