U.S. Marijuana Legalization Cuts Mexican Drug Cartel Profits
Billions in revenue expected from legal marijuana sales in U.S.
Colorado and Washington’s legal marijuana sales represent a very small percentage of the total ‘weed’ being used in America, but a new report suggests that even the few billion dollars’ worth the states have been able to sell with recent legalization means that Mexican drug cartels are being run into the ground.
The first full year of legal marijuana sales in Colorado yielded more than $700 million in sales, according to the Colorado Department of Revenue, and the tax revenues from legal marijuana sales in Washington are expected to top $1 billion. But the U.S. government has spent billions in the name of a supposed ‘drug war,’ trying to stop pot and other illegal drugs from being smuggled into our country. It’s a bit ironic, then, that the legalization of marijuana in just a few states is actually decreasing the amount of drugs being smuggled in by drug lords from just over the border.
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 agents hit a pinnacle in 2009, getting their hands on around 4 million pounds of weed, but they confiscated only a little over 1.5 million pounds last year.
Over the past four decades, federal and state governments have poured over $1 trillion into drug war spending and relied on taxpayers to foot the bill. Might legalization have saved us all billions over the past many years?
The DEA’s 2015 National Drug Threat Assessment essentially admits this. Even though the cartels in Mexico are trying to create better marijuana plants than their past ones, Americans still perceive the Mexican bud to be inferior to what is being sold in places like California and Colorado.
Perhaps the most heartening aspect of the latest U.S. Border Patrol data is its suggestion that by letting marijuana 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.
Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.