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California could make Mexican drug cartels bolder

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POSTED July 31, 2011 1:35 a.m.

The war, as they say, is going badly.

This week’s massive marijuana raid in the Mendocino National Forest is a clear indicator we’re in deep trouble.

Legalizing marijuana isn’t going to do the trick and reduce crime.

Fifty massive grow gardens raided were clearly not for medicinal purposes.

There is strong evidence tying them into the Mexican drug cartels.

California National Guard troops joined federal and local enforcement agencies as well as the Forest Service. The heavily armed presence was in response to the fact many of these grow gardens have armed guards. And they are confronting anyone who comes near them including hikers.

In essence, Mendocino National Forest is occupied by enemy forces.

One of the pitches is that if you legalize pot you will somehow eliminate much of the crime its use triggers.

Does anyone think that the drug cartels are going to go quietly into the night? They will not concede a multi-billion dollar cash cow to Mom and Pops or some Walmart-style corporate pot growing operation without a fight.

Just look at meth production and distribution in the San Joaquin Valley. A large chunk of the “jobs” it created have been lost to Mexico. The loss of American meth, manufacturing, if you will, means the distribution is more and more under the control of the Mexican drug cartels that make the Hells Angels look like Boy Scouts in comparison.

The reason why the cartels are as far north as the Mendocino National Forest is fairly clear. And it has a lot more than the fact it is a relatively isolated area given the forest is the size of Rhode Island. Marijuana grown in California’s North Coast forest tends to be of higher quality and fetches more money per ounce.

It would be Pollyanna to think that legalizing marijuana would do the same thing that legalizing alcohol did to illegal moonshine operations. Most moonshiners disappeared as big business moved to cash in.

Moonshiners didn’t execute police, kill innocent people, and terrify entire towns as the drug cartels do in Mexico.

Even so, how could the cartels hold onto their control of a large chunk of the marijuana market or event expand it if California legalizes recreation use of pot? The answer is rather obvious. If California legalizes pot for recreational purposes, there are 49 other states where it still would not be legal.

States rights are an important - and sacred - part of the constitution.

But in this case Californians may want to think twice about trying to thumb their noses up at Uncle Sam at the ballot box.

The drug cartels are getting more brazen with each passing day in Mexico. Should the door open a bit more in California, not much will stop the cartels from kicking it wide open.

When it comes to organized crime, the Mexican drug cartels are rewriting the book.

Legalize recreational pot in the Golden State and you could turn California into a drug cartel war zone.

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