Transitioning toward Drug Criminalization in Mexico: Inflation, Violence, and Protection in Baja California, 1900–50

Friday, January 2, 2009: 1:40 PM
Park Suite 1 (Sheraton New York)
Eric M. Schantz , California State University at Los Angeles
This paper will illustrate the social, economic, and political impact of drug criminalization in Mexico by focusing on opiates and cocaine.  It discusses the role of the US's diplomatic initiative in spreading the politics of drug prohibition, and the receptive audience that criminalization found among Mexico's powerbrokers and official actors.  I will discuss the manifest impact of criminalization as inflation and violence, and through protection extended by officials on both sides of the US-Mexico border, the continued non-compliance by contrabandists and embedded pharmaceutical interests.  It shows the deleterious effects of criminalization on addiction, by complicating unequal social relations over issues of health and security.  Finally, it examines violence as a consequence of prohibition of alcohol, cocaine, and opiates.