Legalized Marijuana More Harmful to Cartels than Drug War

The “War On Drugs” has been waged for decades. The U.S. government has spent incredible amounts of taxpayer dollars on this battle and, for the most part, there has been little success and many casualties.

airport1.jpgIn some cases, fighting the war on drugs involved using the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and its vast resources to fight drugs domestically and in the countries in which these drugs are manufactured. They have used high speed boats, airplanes, two giant blimps both named Fat Albert, and just about anything else they could imagine to fight the influx of drugs into this country.

However, despite these tremendous efforts and increased border inspections, the drugs keep coming into the U.S. Now, there is evidence we may finally have a weapon capable of weakening their defenses: Legalized marijuana.

The drug smugglers have become increasingly sophisticated. Instead of using speedboats with 10 huge engines, they are now using submarines they make themselves to smuggle drugs in the country. As we have seen from the many documentaries and dramas on Netflix, like Cocaine Cowboys, Narcos, and Drug Subs, the cartels, largely based in Mexico and South America, are making billions of dollars despite the government’s best efforts. While cocaine is certainly a main export of the South American cartels, Mexican cartels have been reaping huge profits from the sale of marijuana.

According to a recent news feature from The Washington Post, legalized medical marijuana and recreational marijuana is finally doing something the war on drugs never did – costing the drug cartels a great deal of money.

The latest figures released by the U.S. Border Patrol show that marijuana seizures are at the lowest they have been in the past 10 years or more. Last year, the total amount of marijuana seized was around one and a half million pounds. A few years ago, they were confiscating nearly 5 million pounds. While it is obviously true for every pound of marijuana seized, much more gets through the border, a significant reduction in the amount of marijuana being seized is likely reflective of a total decline in marijuana being trafficked into this country.

The reason for this is because the demand for Mexican marijuana is going down substantially. Now, people in areas like Los Angeles in need of medical marijuana can go to a dispensary and purchase high quality strains of medical marijuana. Their purchase is completely legal, their product is better, and they are paying less while avoiding the risk associated with purchasing illicit drugs, including being arrested or ripped off by an unscrupulous dealer.

As for the price, farms in Mexico who grew marijuana formerly made more than $90 per kilogram of marijuana and now those same farmers are being paid around $30 a kilogram for the same marijuana. This shows that the drug cartels that smuggle marijuana into the U.S. are not able to get as much for their product due to legal competition. While there is no proof that this is the actual reason for the decline in seizures, officials in the War of Drugs seem to agree that this is likely result of increased domestic production of marijuana.

The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.

Additional Resources:
Legal marijuana is finally doing what the drug war couldn’t, March 3, 2016, The Washington Post, By Christopher Ingraham
More Blog Entries:
Kosher Medical Marijuana for Orthodox Patients Available, Jan. 23, 2016, Los Angeles Marijuana Lawyer Blog