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

Where Chaos Reigns: Inside the San Pedro Sula Prison

Where Chaos Reigns: Inside the San Pedro Sula Prison

In San Pedro Sula's jailhouse, chaos reigns. The inmates, trapped in their collective misery, battle for control over every inch of their tight quarters. Farm animals and guard dogs roam free and feed off scraps, which can include a human heart. Every day is visitors' day, and...

Homicides in Guatemala: Collecting the Data

Homicides in Guatemala: Collecting the Data

When someone is murdered in Guatemala, police, forensic doctors and government prosecutors start making their way to the crime scene and a creaky, antiquated 20th century bureaucratic machine kicks into gear. Calls are made. Forms are filled out by hand, or typed into computers, or both. Some...

The Prison Dilemma: Latin America’s Incubators of Organized Crime

The Prison Dilemma: Latin America’s Incubators of Organized Crime

The prison system in Latin America and the Caribbean has become a prime incubator for organized crime. This overview -- the first of six reports on prison systems that we produced after a year-long investigation -- traces the origins and maps the consequences of the problem, including...

How the MS13 Tried (and Failed) to Create a Single Gang in the US

How the MS13 Tried (and Failed) to Create a Single Gang in the US

In July 2011, members of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) attended a meeting organized in California by a criminal known as "Bad Boy." Among the invitees was José Juan Rodríguez Juárez, known as "Dreamer," who had gone to the meeting hoping to better understand what was beginning to...

Reign of the Kaibil: Guatemala’s Prisons Under Byron Lima

Reign of the Kaibil: Guatemala’s Prisons Under Byron Lima

Following Guatemala's long and brutal civil war, members of the military were charged, faced trial and sentenced to jail time. Even some members of a powerful elite unit known as the Kaibil were put behind bars. Among these prisoners, none were more emblematic than Captain Byron Lima...

Nariño, Colombia: Ground Zero of the Cocaine Trade

Nariño, Colombia: Ground Zero of the Cocaine Trade

The department of Nariño in southwest Colombia is the main coca-producing area in the country and in the world. It is a place scarred by poverty and years of armed conflict between guerrillas, the state and paramilitary groups. Perhaps nowhere else in the country are the challenges...

Homicides in Guatemala: Conclusions and Recommendations

Homicides in Guatemala: Conclusions and Recommendations

Olfato. It is a term used quite often in law enforcement and judicial circles in Central America (and other parts of the world as well). It refers to the sixth sense they have as they see a crime scene, investigate a murder or plow through the paperwork...

El Salvador Prisons and the Battle for the MS13’s Soul

El Salvador Prisons and the Battle for the MS13’s Soul

El Salvador's prison system is the headquarters of the country's largest gangs. It is also where one of these gangs, the MS13, is fighting amongst itself for control of the organization.

How the MS13 Got Its Foothold in Transnational Drug Trafficking

How the MS13 Got Its Foothold in Transnational Drug Trafficking

Throughout the continent, the debate on whether or not the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) gang is working with or for drug traffickers continues. In this investigation, journalist Carlos García tells the story of how a member of the MS13 entered the methamphetamine distribution business under the powerful auspices...

The MS13 Moves (Again) to Expand on US East Coast

The MS13 Moves (Again) to Expand on US East Coast

Local police and justice officials are convinced that the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) has strengthened its presence along the East Coast of the United States. The alarm follows a recent spate of violence -- of the type not seen in a decade -- which included dismembered bodies and...