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 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...

Colombia Elites and Organized Crime: 'Don Berna'

Colombia Elites and Organized Crime: 'Don Berna'

By the end of 1993, Pablo Escobar was cornered. The cocaine king -- known as "El Patrón" -- was running out of money and options. His top assassins were either dead or had turned themselves in. Almost all of the senior members of the Medellín Cartel were...

Elites and Organized Crime: Conceptual Framework - Organized Crime

Elites and Organized Crime: Conceptual Framework - Organized Crime

This project defines organized crime as: a structured group of people that associate on a regular and prolonged basis to benefit from illicit activities and illegal markets. This group can be local, national or transnational in nature, and its existence is maintained using violence and threats; corruption...

Colombia Elites and Organized Crime: 'Jorge 40'

Colombia Elites and Organized Crime: 'Jorge 40'

Rodrigo Tovar Pupo never imagined it would come to this: dressed in an orange jumpsuit in a Washington DC courtroom and standing in front of a United States federal judge, the grandson of a wealthy Colombian cattle rancher and nephew to a governor was facing a possible...

Honduras Elites and Organized Crime: The Cachiros

Honduras Elites and Organized Crime: The Cachiros

As it tends to happen in Honduras, the news began as a well-heeled rumor: Javier Rivera Maradiaga, the oldest of the three Rivera Maradiaga brothers still alive and leader of the feared and powerful Honduran drug trafficking group known as the Cachiros, had handed himself in to...

Guatemala Elites and Organized Crime: The CICIG

Guatemala Elites and Organized Crime: The CICIG

Like any arm of the justice system, the United Nations-backed International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (Comisión Internacional Contra la Impunidad en Guatemala - CICIG) had its battles with elites who used their charm and their muscle to try to influence what and who the celebrated commission...

Guatemala Elites and Organized Crime: The 'Huistas'

Guatemala Elites and Organized Crime: The 'Huistas'

In the northwest corner of Guatemala, a little known criminal organization known as the "Huistas" dominates the underworld, in large part due its ties with businessmen, law enforcement officials and politicians.

Honduras Elites and Organized Crime: Juan Ramón Matta Ballesteros

Honduras Elites and Organized Crime: Juan Ramón Matta Ballesteros

On the morning of April 5, 1988, Juan Ramón Matta Ballesteros left his palatial Tegucigalpa estate for a jog. Matta Ballesteros was wanted for murder, drug trafficking and other crimes in several countries, but in Honduras he felt safe. He regularly hosted parties for high-level officials at...

Elites and Organized Crime: Preface

Elites and Organized Crime: Preface

Organized crime is not an abstract concept for me. I grew up in Oak Park, a leafy suburb of Chicago with a population of about 60,000. In general, it was a very low crime city, which is perhaps why many mobsters made their homes there, among them...

Guatemala Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Guatemala Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Guatemala is Central America’s most populous country and its largest economy. But an intransigent elite, an ambitious military and a weak state has opened the way for organized crime to flourish, especially since the return of democracy.