Legalization of Marijuana in U.S. States Appears to Impact Mexican Cartels

U.S. Border Patrol agents report seizing smaller quantities of marijuana along the U.S.-Mexican border since the drug was legalized in Colorado and Washington state, Time reports. In 2011, agents seized 2.5 million pounds. Last year, they seized 1.9 million pounds.

The Mexican army has reported a 32 percent decline in marijuana seizures from 2013 to 2014, the article notes.

“It is no surprise to me that marijuana consumers choose to buy their product from a legal tax-paying business as opposed to a black market product that is not tested or regulated,” Tom Angell, Chairman of Marijuana Majority, told the magazine. “When you go to a legal store, you know what you are getting, and that is not going to be contaminated.”

ArcView, a cannabis investment and research firm, estimates revenue in the United States from recreational drug stores and medical marijuana, which is legal in 23 states, will top $4 billion by 2016.

At the same time that marijuana seizures have declined, violence has also decreased in Mexico—from almost 23,000 murders in 2011 to 15,649 last year. Experts are debating how much of the decline is due to marijuana legalization in the United States. They note the level of violence in Mexico is still high.

Mexican drug cartels continue to make billions of dollars smuggling hard drugs, including heroin and crystal meth. Seizures of both drugs have increased as marijuana seizures have declined. U.S. agents seized a record 34,840 pounds of meth last year.

    User Picture


    May 5, 2015 at 3:48 PM

    Does this mean that when we legalized and regulated alcohol that we won the war on alcoholism?

    In Arizona we don’t know what is in the marijuana as much of it is not tested or regulated. Dispensaries can grow their own or get their products from “other MM card holders”. That could be anyone with a MM card even if they acquired the drug from a questionable source.

    We have yet to see education on the side effects of using marijuana in AZ. There is a lot of dangerous misinformation out there. Some people are being told lthat if they smoke tobacco that smoking marijuana will prevent them from getting cancer.

    This is sad.

    User Picture

    Dr. G

    April 19, 2015 at 12:36 PM

    I live in Colorado. The black market is alive and well in this state as evidenced by interdiction seizures on route to neighboring states who are suing us because their law enforcement costs have gone up to protect their borders. Medical Marijuana is alive and well because recreational Marijuana is taxed more than the “medical” variety. It is true, that less marijuana is crossing the Mexican border. It has been replaced by heroin. Colorado is only second to West Virginia for our epidemic of opiate overdoses/deaths. Doctors are tightening their prescription pads and consequently, some patients/addicts are going to the street and replacing prescription drugs with heroin. Not a pretty picture at all.

    User Picture


    April 10, 2015 at 6:01 AM

    Legal MJ in the US seems to impact Mexican drug traffickers?
    Who’s the genius that made that discovery?

    Here’s another revelation, in case you need another insightful headline:
    If you jump in the ocean you will get wet!
    Imagine that??

    User Picture

    Eric Wood

    April 9, 2015 at 1:42 PM

    Before the marijuana advocates claim victory, we should recognize the Mexican cartels are already diversifying to capitalize on the changing drug climate in the US. Since the illicit marijuana trade is drying up, they are focusing their efforts on opium cultivation to exploit the spoils of the burgeoning heroin epidemic. At the end of the day, it is still about supply and demand.

    User Picture

    Donna May

    April 9, 2015 at 12:02 PM

    Did we actually believe that this would stop the cartels from profiting? They are very likely out their right now changing their crops to opium.

    Prohibition has never worked and yet we keep using it to fight the war on drugs. Only in legalizing and regulating will we ever win the battle.

    Donna May

Leave a Comment

Please leave a comment below to contribute to the discussion. If you have a specific question, please contact a Parent Specialist, who will provide you with one-on-one help.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *