DEA: Drug War In Mexico Not About Drugs

Mark Kleiman fisks a new Drug Enforcement Administration and the International Association of Chiefs of Police report. Yglesias and Chait build off his analysis. Here's Matt: 

 If drugs were legal, it’d be like cigarettes or beersold on the retail level by regular retailers, and produced and wholesaled by large multinational corporations that lobby for light taxation and engage in large scale advertising to grow market share. Like all vendors of addictive substances, whether legal or illegal, they’d depend for their profits largely on growing the population of addicts and this would have bad public health consequences. But like most businessmen, they’d shy away from settling disputes via armed battles.

Is anyone really fooled by denying this? I’m not eager to see fully commercialized heroin sold at the corner store, but turning drug distribution into a serious criminal act has very clearly served to create a largish economic sector full of serious criminals.