US Legalization Forcing Mexican Drug Cartels Out of the Marijuana Business

Although there are only a handful of states operating fully legal cannabis markets in the United States, they appear to be chipping away at the financial foundation of the Mexican drug cartels. Indeed, while Uncle Sam has maintained a disastrous four-decade-long plan intended to sabotage the smuggling efforts rising up from the southern nation, a new report from the U.S. Border Patrol reveals that statewide legalization efforts here in the Land of the Free have put a serious dent in Mexican pot exports. 

A recent analysis by the Washington Post indicates that Border Patrol agents seized less marijuana along the Mexican border in 2015 than they have in nearly a decade. The latest data shows that while agents hit a pinnacle in 2009, getting their hands on around 4 million pounds of weed, they only confiscated in upwards of 1.5 million pounds last year. 

As Christopher Ingraham points out in his dissection of the data, the diminishing pot seizures along the Mexican border cosigns a number of stories that have surfaced in recent years suggesting that the U.S. cannabis industry, despite its lack of national girth, has created many hardships for Mexican growers. Perhaps the most highly publicized account of this happening is one that originally aired on NPR’s All Things Considered back in 2014, where a grower told the news source that, “if the U.S. continues to legalize pot, they’ll run us into the ground.” 

Of course, anyone who grew up on Mexican brick weed and then later indulged in the cultivation stylings of the legal cannabis trade in the United States understands that this collective disinterest in cartel pot products has a lot to do with quality. HIGH TIMES’ own cultivation editor, Danny Danko, told NPR in 2014 that “American pot smokers prefer American domestically grown marijuana to Mexican grown marijuana,” because the potency of the herb is vastly superior. 

The DEA confirmed this in their 2015 National Drug Threat Assessment, stating that even though the cartels in Mexico were working to create a better marijuana than what they have distributed in the past, Americans still perceive the bud coming from across the border to be “inferior” to what is being sold in places like California and Colorado. 

Perhaps the most important aspect of the latest U.S. Border Patrol data is that it supports the theory that by allowing marijuana to be taxed and regulated in the United States, the federal government could put an end to Mexican weed distribution—the demand for foreign pot would simply cease to exist.

Mike Adams is a contributing writer for HIGH TIMES. You can follow him on Twitter @adamssoup and on

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