At a forum hosted by Foreign Policy Magazine, the Costa Rican ambassador to the U.S. asked Clinton if she believed the drug war could be won. Clinton
"I respect those in the region who believe strongly that [U.S. legalization] would end the problem. I am not convinced of that, speaking personally."
Most of those who advocate legalization do not claim that legalization would end the drug problem but that legalization would ameliorate the situation. It would cut off the profits of cartels and end the violence associated with the drug problem. It would also lower prices and provide revenue to the state through taxation of drugs. No doubt drugs would be safer as well.
Clinton also said
that even if the drug cartels were driven from the drug trade they would find other areas in which they could make money:
“When you've got ruthless, vicious people who have made money one way and it's somehow blocked, they'll figure out another way.”
This reply seems to admit that legalization would block the cartel from making money drug trafficking and actually grants critics one of their points in favor of legalization.
Clinton also spoke
about the Obama administration's response to the recent legalization of marijuana in referenda in Colorado and Washington saying:
"We are formulating our own response to the votes of two of our states as you know -- what that means for the federal system, the federal laws and law enforcement."
At the federal level, marijuana is still illegal.
Raymond Yans, who heads the International Narcotics Control Board, was critical of the decision to legalize marijuana in Colorado and Washington. He claims that this sends the wrong message to the world and the rest of the U.S. as well. He urged the U.S. attorney general Eric Holder to take all necessary measures to ensure that marijuana possession and use remain illegal throughout the U.S.