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Marijuana Legalization is Impacting Mexican Cartels

Border Patrol Marijuana

U.S. Border Patrol agents on the 2,000 mile U.S.-Mexico border have never been able to stop the northward flow of drugs — particularly marijuana — and the southward return stream of U.S. dollars and guns. But the quantity of one drug — marijuana — seems to have finally decreased.

The U.S. Border Patrol stated it has been steadily seizing decreasing quantities of marijuana, from 2.5 million pounds in 2011 to 1.9 million pounds in 2014. And Mexican authorities have noted an even steeper decline, confiscating 664 tons of marijuana in 2014, a decrease of 32% compared to 2013.

This decline appears to have very little to do with law enforcement and a lot to do with the influx of recreational and medical marijuana legalization in the U.S. Drug policy reformists proclaim this market shift from cartels to legalized U.S. dispensaries as a major reason. “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,” stated Tom Angell of the Marijuana Majority. “When you go to a legal store, you know what you are getting, and that [the marijuana] is not going to be contaminated.”

The U.S.’s legal marijuana industry grew 74% in 2014 to $2.7 billion, according to an investment and research firm. The firm predicts the industry will top $4 billion by 2016.