Perhaps the biggest argument for the legalization of marijuana in the United States is by allowing a taxed and regulated market similar to the brewing industry, the federal government would ultimately amputate a viable sector for the Mexican drug cartels and cripple their distribution in America. Although there is some contention that this concept is not possible without the total repeal of marijuana prohibition, a recent report from NPR’s All Things Considered indicates that statewide legalization is already chipping away at the bone south of the border.
Although marijuana remains illegal in the eyes of Uncle Sam and his drug enforcement henchmen, over half the states in the Land of the Free have been allowed to legalize the leaf for medicinal and recreational purposes. This movement has not only resulted in a booming cannabis industry, but it has also brought forth some of the most high-powered marijuana to ever be sold on the American black market. As a result, very few pot connoisseurs in states where pot is illegal are smoking anything resembling Mexican brick weed – a sign of the times that will undoubtedly put the stranglehold on small-time farmers hired to grow dope for the cartels.
“Two or three years ago, a kilogram [2.2 pounds] of marijuana was worth $60 to $90,” one grower told NPR. “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.”
Law enforcement officials claim that while they continue to make marijuana busts, most of the product they encounter does not come from Mexico. Instead, there appears to be an uprising in the domestic cannabis trade, in which homegrown operations and high-potency exports from legal states are now supplying street dealers in areas where retail pot is not available.
“American pot smokers prefer American domestically grown marijuana to Mexican grown marijuana. We’ve seen a ton of evidence of this in the last decade or so,” High Times’ Senior Cultivation Editor Danny Danko told NPR, explaining that Mexican marijuana cannot compete with the potency of American grown.
“Mexican marijuana is considered to be of poor quality generally because it’s grown in bulk, outdoors; it’s typically dried but not really cured, which is something we do here in the U.S. with connoisseur-quality cannabis,” said Danko. “And it’s also bricked up, meaning that it’s compressed, for sale and packaging and in order to get it over the border efficiently.”
Interestingly, the legalization of marijuana in America has caused a bizarre shift in the distribution of weed between the United States and Mexico. DEA officials report that the Sinaloa cartel has been engaged in smuggling high-quality herb from Colorado back into Mexico to sell at premium prices.
The cartels response to pot legalization in America cosigns what we have known all along: these operations are resilient, which is the reason, no matter what happens in the United States in the realm of marijuana reform, these thugs will continue to make their nut selling hard drugs, like heroin and methamphetamine, to the American junkie. That is a given.
As for the Mexican marijuana farmers, there is speculation that these dying animals will soon give up on the cultivation of pot and switch to growing opium poppies to better serve the market.