A recent article on eastbayexpress.com stated that for the first time in generations, farms in Mexico have stopped planting marijuana. With recreational use in the United States being legalized in two states, and decriminalized in seventeen, could the slow legalization in America be the downfall for the Mexican Cartels?
Unfortunately, their headline of Grand Closing: America’s Pot Farmers Are Putting Mexican Cartels Out of Business is misleading. First of all this is hardly the first time in generations that Mexico or Latin America in general has stopped growing weed. It happens all the time usually because growing coca leaf to make cocaine is infinitely more profitable. Secondly, the portion of a cartels profit derived from marijuana is generally considered extremely low when compared to the sales of harder drugs, human trafficking, gun trade, etc. Legalizing marijuana in the US is hardly going to put them out of business. Lastly, even in the states where it is legal, the black market for marijuana is still thriving. High taxes leave people still resorting to their personal dealers.
The original source interviews a single Mexican pot farmer who blames legalization in the US for a drop in prices. However pot is not legalized in all of the US, only a few states, so this cannot account for wholesale weed prices falling 75%. Suspicion is that prices of poor Mexican brick weed have gone down (the type that cartels sell) because the tastes of pot smokers in the US have increased in recent years. Case in point, the price of weed in Colorado has actually been increasing.
The main point of the entire original article is that heroin usage is increasing which makes marijuana sales less relevant to the cartel, who actually never got a majority of their profit from marijuana sales to begin with. Legalizing weed will hurt the cartel but only slightly and only temporarily. It absolutely will not ‘put them out of business’. Their business also includes selling heroin, cocaine, crystal meth, and kidnapping.