US Cannabis Legalization Impacting Cartel Operations

The cartels used to be able to count on major profits from trafficking marijuana to the U.S. That has been slowly changing, however, even though cannabis grown in the U.S. and sold legally is typically much pricier than Mexican marijuana.

To keep profit margins up, a number of cartels have branched into other sources of revenue, including black tar heroin and meth. A U.S. Customs official told the online news outlet Fusion that between 2013 and 2014, for instance, that the agency saw a spike in seizures of heroin and meth on the U.S.-Mexican border, and a simultaneous decrease in marijuana, cocaine and ecstasy seizures.

The increase in heroin seizures can be attributed to the DEA’s war on pain patients and the medications they use.  Not because a lot of pain patients are turning to heroin, but because the supply of prescription pain meds has been so severely restricted, and many of those addicted to drugs were using pain meds.  Now, they’re using heroin, a lot of the supply coming from Mexico.

If the DEA didn’t see this potential result before the crackdown on pain clinics and doctors, pharmacies, and pain patients, then they’re stupid.  And I don’t think the DEA is stupid.  I just think they don’t care about the results of their actions, of continuing the drug war.  After all, it’s their livelihood.  To the DEA, all drugs are bad, and should be controlled and monitored.  (Too bad the federal government doesn’t feel the same way about guns.)

I think meth will always be popular, no matter what’s going on in the drug war.  But, with marijuana legalization, will we see a decrease in Americans who use cocaine and ecstasy? I wonder how alcohol sales are doing in Colorado and Washington…

Marijuana seizures were down by nearly 21% in that timeframe, and that was just the first year of recreational sales.

“Approximately 30% of cartels’ drug export revenues come from marijuana,” Mexican security analyst Alejandro Hope told Fusion. “In the long term, Mexican marijuana could be displaced by legal production in the United States.”

Fusion also noted that according to another report, some Mexicans are purchasing marijuana to smuggle back home, because it’s higher quality.

Mexican growers shouldn’t feel bad that our weed is better than theirs — a lot of our bud is grown legally, out in the open, as opposed to in the middle of Mexico’s very violent drug war. And you know, plants are very sensitive to things like war and poverty. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why New Mexico doesn’t grow very good bud — we’re a very poor state.

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