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U.S. Marijuana Industry: Great for America, Awful for Cartels

Marijuana Drug Cartels

Medical and recreational marijuana legalization has led to many proven benefits in the United States: increased tax revenues, new jobs, healthier marijuana, and helping people with health ailments; as well as decreasing the ability of minors to get access to marijuana because the black market is dwindling due to state-legal marijuana markets blossoming. Marijuana legalization is hindering the Mexican drug cartels, which the Department of Justice calls the “greatest organized crime threat to the United States.”

Mexican security analyst Alejandro Hope stated that “approximately 30 percent of cartels’ drug export revenues come from marijuana.” Although marijuana legalization has minimal effect on the cartels’ ability to smuggle hard drugs like heroin into the U.S., decreasing the cartels’ marijuana revenue will greatly burden their wealth and influence and should subsequently reduce their ability to move drugs into the U.S. Any impediment for the cartels’ would be a great achievement for all of mankind.

Violent crimes have been decreasing in Mexico since 2011, when homicides hit a high and Mexican police departments reported nearly 23,000 murders. In 2014, they reported nearly 15,000. Some of the reduced violence could be a result of marijuana legalization in the U.S.

As more Americans purchase marijuana legally from state-licensed dispensaries, the less marijuana the cartels will sell due to a decrease in demand. As cartels’ marijuana profits dwindle they’ll try to sell different drugs in the U.S. and/or search for new markets – such as South America, Africa, Asia or Europe – to increase profits. Fortunately, states with medical and/or recreational marijuana markets typically use a percentage of their marijuana tax revenue to create drug education programs for their citizens. And with quality drug education programs there will be a major decrease in the demand for drugs in the U.S. Eventually, demand for illegal drugs will vastly diminish and the cartels will turn to new markets or to new illegal operations such as counterfeit goods or smuggling weapons.