We could sit here all day and tell you all the benefits marijuana legalization has given us. Whether if it’s for medicinal or recreational purposes – the evidence is stacking up. But one of the best things that has come out of this is the effect we’ve had on Mexican Cartels.
According to recent data from the U.S. Border Patrol, seizures of marijuana along the southwest border have dropped to an all time low over a decades span. At that their highest peak, they were able to confiscate roughly 4 million pounds of marijuana in 2009 vs only a measly 1.5 million in 2015.
So how is legal marijuana effecting growers in Mexico?
One of the biggest things marijuana growers in Mexico are facing is its price decline. Since there’s been an influx of marijuana production in states like California, Colorado, and Washington – the price of marijuana from Mexico has taken a nose dive, even at the bulk level.
Here’s what a Mexican grower told NPR news in December 2014:
Two or three years ago, a kilogram [2.2 pounds] of marijuana was worth $60 to $90, but now they’re paying us $30 to $40 a kilo. It’s a big difference. If the U.S. continues to legalize pot, they’ll run us into the ground.
It’s not only falling prices they’re dealing with, quality is now a huge issue. In the 2015 National Drug Threat Assessment, the DEA wrote:
The quality of marijuana produced in Mexico and the Caribbean is thought to be inferior to the marijuana produced domestically in the United States or in Canada. Law enforcement reporting indicates that Mexican cartels are attempting to produce higher-quality marijuana to keep up with U.S. demand.
And that makes a lot of sense. The quality of bud produced in the U.S. surpasses the quality of marijuana imported from Mexico. Think about it, when’s the last time you’ve preferred Mexican brick weed over a fine tasting haze variety.
Either way you cut it, Mexican growers are feeling the heat and further proves that production south of the border is drastically changing. What’s even crazier is that the DEA is even finding evidence of illegal marijuana from the U.S. being smuggled into Mexico.
But when it comes to the cartels, they’ll evolve and adapt. As seizures continue to climb and profits fall, they will eventually shift their focus on heroin and meth, which isn’t good for anyone.