As more states legalize marijuana for medical and recreational purposes in the U.S., Mexican drug cartels’ profits are starting to diminish. The U.S. Border Patrol seized just 1.5 million pounds of marijuana at the Southwest border in 2015, which is a drastic decrease from previous years, The Washington Post reports.
The cost of marijuana has also started to plummet by nearly half. Prior to the marijuana legalization efforts in the U.S., the average cost cartel’s paid their growers per kilo (2.2 pounds) for marijuana was between $60 and $90. That cost has now dropped to $30 – $40 per kilo, according to a Mexican marijuana grower.
That same marijuana grower said, “It’s a big difference. If the U.S. continues to legalize pot, they’ll run us into the ground.”
The DEA said in the 2015 National Drug Threat Assessment that “The quality of marijuana produced in Mexico and the Caribbean is thought to be inferior to the marijuana produced domestically in the United States or Canada. Law enforcement reporting indicates that Mexican cartels are attempting to produce higher-quality marijuana to keep up with U.S. demand.”
The number of marijuana seizures at U.S./Mexico borders has decreased steadily over the last few years. This is a heavy indication that more Americans are obtaining their marijuana from American sources, whether it is legally or from American marijuana growers growing for the black market.
California is the leading producer of marijuana in the United States. This includes both the black market and legal grow operations.
Mexican drug cartels could soon be out of the marijuana business, at least in the U.S. The cartels are shifting their focus towards selling harsher drugs like methamphetamines and heroin in order to increase profits.