Ex-Mexico President Vicente Fox and Jamen Shively

Former President of Mexico Vicente Fox has backed an ex-Microsoft businessman's plans to create the first legal "Big Marijuana" business, highlighting how quickly commerce will look to capitalize on relaxed drug policy.

Speaking at a press conference, Fox threw his support behind the plans of former Microsoft manager Jamen Shively to create the first national brand of retail marijuana, called Diego Pellicer.

"With this we will avoid the violence," he told CNN. "We will control the criminals and reduce their income, and at the same time it would become a transparent, accountable business in the hands of businessmen."

Shively and his associates plan to capitalize on the legalization of marijuana in Washington and Colorado by creating a chain of marijuana businesses. They are already acquiring medical-marijuana dispensaries in the two states.

Shively shrugged off concerns over the challenges of establishing a legal business in a sector that remains illegal under federal law, and said he had created a way to protect investors from the federal authorities, according to the Seattle Times.

When the new company filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission last March, it registered that it had raised $125,000 of an anticipated $625,000. Shively, however, insisted the business will eventually "mint more millionaires than Microsoft."

InSight Crime Analysis

Shively's determination to capitalize on the marijuana business while the United States continues to struggle to reconcile opposing state and federal laws demonstrates the challenges the country will face in implementing a piecemeal approach to the issue.

It also highlights one potential path legalization could take -- leaving it to the free market. In contrast, the most far-reaching marijuana reform legislation yet drafted in Latin America -- specifically, Uruguay's plans for nationwide decriminalization and regulation -- is an example of an alternative path, in which the trade will remain in the hands of the state.

Leaving the decriminalized drug business to the free market would almost certainly lead to an economic boom in the sector, likely creating more tax revenues and jobs than a strictly regulated state enterprise. However, if left to itself, this could create social problems as businesses would have an incentive to not only profit from drug use but also promote it.

Investigations

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
Prev Next

The FARC 1964-2002: From Ragged Rebellion to Military Machine

The FARC 1964-2002: From Ragged Rebellion to Military Machine

On May 27, 1964 up to one thousand Colombian soldiers, backed by fighter planes and helicopters, launched an assault against less than fifty guerrillas in the tiny community of Marquetalia. The aim of the operation was to stamp out once and for all the communist threat in...

The FARC and the Drug Trade: Siamese Twins?

The FARC and the Drug Trade: Siamese Twins?

The FARC have always had a love-hate relationship with drugs. They love the money it brings, funds which have allowed them to survive and even threaten to topple the state at the end of the 1990s. They hate the corruption and stigma narcotics have also brought to...

The FARC 2002-Present: Decapitation and Rebirth

The FARC 2002-Present: Decapitation and Rebirth

In August 2002, the guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) greeted Colombia's new president with a mortar attack that killed 14 people during his inauguration. The attack was intended as a warning to the fiercely anti-FARC newcomer. But it became the opening salvo of...

Barrio 18 Leader 'Viejo Lin' on El Salvador Gang Truce

Barrio 18 Leader 'Viejo Lin' on El Salvador Gang Truce

Barrio 18 leader Carlos Lechuga Mojica, alias "El Viejo Lin," is one of the most prominent spokesmen for El Salvador's gang truce. InSight Crime co-director Steven Dudley spoke with Mojica in Cojutepeque prison in October 2012 about how the maras view the controversial peace process, which has...

The Reality of the FARC Peace Talks in Havana

The Reality of the FARC Peace Talks in Havana

If we are to believe the Colombian government, the question is not if, but rather when, an end to 50 years of civil conflict will be reached. Yet the promise of President Juan Manuel Santos that peace can be achieved before the end of 2014 is simply...

Criminalization of FARC Elements Inevitable

Criminalization of FARC Elements Inevitable

While there is no doubt that the FARC have only a tenuous control over some of their more remote fronts, there is no evidence of any overt dissident faction within the movement at the moment.

MS-13's 'El Barney': A Trend or an Isolated Case?

MS-13's 'El Barney': A Trend or an Isolated Case?

In October 2012, the US Treasury Department designated the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) as a transnational criminal organization (TCO). While this assertion seems unfounded, there is one case that illustrates just why the US government is worried about the future.

'Chepe Luna,' the Police and the Art of Escape

'Chepe Luna,' the Police and the Art of Escape

The United States -- which through its antinarcotics, judicial and police attaches was very familiar with the routes used for smuggling, and especially those used for people trafficking and understood that those traffickers are often one and the same -- greeted the new government of Elias Antonio...

Ivan Rios Bloc: the FARC's Most Vulnerable Fighting Division

Ivan Rios Bloc: the FARC's Most Vulnerable Fighting Division

When considering the possibilities that the FARC may break apart, the Ivan Rios Bloc is a helpful case study because it is perhaps the weakest of the FARC's divisions in terms of command and control, and therefore runs the highest risk of fragmentation and criminalization.

The Infiltrators: Corruption in El Salvador's Police

The Infiltrators: Corruption in El Salvador's Police

Ricardo Mauricio Menesses Orellana liked horses, and the Pasaquina rodeo was a great opportunity to enjoy a party. He was joined at the event -- which was taking place in the heart of territory controlled by El Salvador's most powerful drug transport group, the Perrones -- by the...