The Mexican Supreme Court's marijuana ruling could save lives on both sides of the border.

Mexico's War on Drugs was a violent failure. Legalizing marijuana may right that wrong.

In 2006, then-Mexican President Felipe Calderón went all in on his country's version of the War on Drugs.

Calderón empowered the military to take action against Mexican drug cartels and put an end to the flow of drugs to the United States. What he got was unprecedented violence, with 100,000 dead and more than 26,000 people missing.


A Mexican soldier stands guard during the incineration of about 6,000 pounds of marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, and psychotropic pills in 2012. Photo by Julio Cesar Aguilar/AFP/Getty Images.

As U.S. decriminalization and legalization policies took hold, illegal importation of marijuana from Mexico fell.

This may seem obvious, but once Americans were able to legally grow, purchase, and possess marijuana (as we can in an increasing number of places within the U.S.), there was less incentive for the cartels to continue taking risks in drug-running.

Time reports that U.S. Border Patrol seizures of marijuana fell from 2.5 million pounds in 2011 to 1.9 million pounds in 2014. Even more impressive is that in 2014, with only five U.S. states legalizing marijuana, the Mexican army confiscated nearly a third less marijuana at the border than in 2013.


A Mexican soldier stands guard next to marijuana packages recovered near the U.S. border in 2010. Photo by Francisco Vega/AFP/Getty Images.

With more Americans able to acquire marijuana legally, illegal trade between Mexico and the U.S. declined, as did violent crime.

In 2011, Mexican police departments reported 22,852 murders. In 2014, that number dropped to 15,649. Reduce the cashflow to cartels, and they're less able to enact violence against others — it's simple math.

Guns recovered during a cartel raid. Photo by Pedro Pardo/AFP/Getty Images.

But now, a recent ruling from Mexico's Supreme Court might bring the country a whole lot closer to decriminalizing marijuana and putting an end to the violence.

Though the court didn't strike down any of the country's existing anti-marijuana laws, today's ruling, which states that individuals in Mexico have the right to grow marijuana for personal use, puts those laws on extremely shaky ground. After all, if people have a right to possess and use marijuana, existing laws stating the contrary may soon fall to legal challenges.

Demonstrators both for and against decriminalization of marijuana gathered outside the courthouse in Mexico City on Nov. 4, 2015. Photo by Alfredo Estrella/AFP/Getty Images.

Calderón left office in late 2012. His successor, President Enrique Peña Nieto, unveiled a new policy aimed at reducing violence instead of engaging cartels in military standoffs. While he doesn't support the legalization of marijuana outright, his approach has been significantly less destructive than Calderón's.

Will Mexico's marijuana laws ultimately fall? Will legalization continue to make its way across the U.S.? One can hope.

One can argue that alcohol and tobacco are more dangerous than marijuana. After all, no one has ever died of a marijuana overdose, and in states that have legalized it, there haven't been any of the ill effects opponents of legalization warned of. Once you factor in the 100,000-plus lives lost to cartel violence and the War on Drugs, legalization is a no-brainer.

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I'm staring at my screen watching the President of the United States speak before a stadium full of people in North Carolina. He launches into a lie-laced attack on Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, and the crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Send her back! Send her back! Send her back!"

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WATCH: Trump rally crowd chants 'send her back' after he criticizes Rep. Ilhan Omar www.youtube.com

My mind flashes to another President of the United States speaking to a stadium full of people in North Carolina in 2016. A heckler in the crowd—an old man in uniform holding up a TRUMP sign—starts shouting, disrupting the speech. The crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!"

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What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

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