Remember a few years ago, before any states had legalized marijuana for any purpose, and those who were not in favor of legalizing pot said that legalizing would do little to curb Mexican drug cartels smuggling their own brand of marijuana into the United States?
Boy, were they wrong.
Before legalization was even a whisper in the U.S., a staggering amount of the pot being smoked within our borders was smuggled into the United States from Central and South America.
Now that many states have legalized, this has changed the dynamic, with members of various cartels now smuggling U.S.-grown marijuana out of the country to be sold at premium prices south of the border.
Legalization has dealt a crushing blow to Mexico’s marijuana industry because consumers prefer the higher-potency of U.S.- and Canada-grown marijuana.
High Times Magazine’s senior cultivation editor, Daniel Vinkovetsky, or Danny Danko, explains:
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. 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.
Danko goes on to say that American marijuana has a potency of 10 to 20 percent THC, the high-inducing chemical in marijuana, whereas Mexican “brick weed” has a potency of about 3 to 8 percent THC.
The DEA can’t point to any concrete statistics of the amount being smuggled out, but what is clear is Mexico’s pot growing industry is in crisis and can’t compete with high-tech grow operations in the US.
Mason Tvert, communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project and a co-director of the 2012 campaign to legalize pot in Colorado, is leery of the DEA’s claims that marijuana is being trafficked out of the country, saying in a US News report:
It’s certainly interesting if it is actually the case, but we should probably wait until there is confirmation that it’s even happening before we jump to conclusions. Unfortunately, the DEA doesn’t have a great track record when it comes to providing objective information about marijuana.
One thing is for certain, U.S. dollars are barely funding drug gangs south of the border for marijuana.