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The market for illegal drugs globally is a multi-billion dollar enterprise, with profits flowing mainly to drug traffickers. In 2006, Mexico's President Felipe Calderon declared war on his own country's powerful cartels. As Mexican forces pursued them, rival gangs clashed over territory, and civilians were caught in the crossfire. Meanwhile, emboldened, cartels have expanded into Central America. As long as demand for drugs remains high, there's incentive to provide the supply.
The drug is grown, sold and consumed in Mexico, but traffickers reap those profits.
As in the United States, it's still illegal to grow and sell marijuana in Mexico.
But as the death toll from the drug war escalates, and farmers continue to labor in poverty, a growing number of Mexicans, including some prominent figures, are suggesting the government legalize the drug to take away profits and power from the drug lords.