Marijuana

Marijuana Legalization Progress in U.S. Shows Signs of Harming Mexican Cartels

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It's a week or so old, but this Daily Caller story has some hopefully timeless trend-setting to report on how the some state level pot legalization in the U.S. might be harming Mexican drug cartels, from indications of amounts captured on the border and Mexican murder numbers.

666isMONEY ☮ ♥ & ☠ / Foter / CC BY

The meat:

Homicides in Mexico have dropped from 22,852 in 2011 to 15,649 as of 2014, which tracks relatively closely with the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington, although the link between the two events is not conclusive.

Last year, agents from the U.S. Border Patrol seized just 1.9 million pounds of marijuana. While that may seem like a large amount, it actually constitutes a 24 percent reduction from the 2.5 million pounds seized in 2011. On the domestic side, Mexican authorities in 2013 seized just 1,070 tons, which marks the lowest amount since 2000.

"Two or three years ago, a kilogram [2.2 pounds] of marijuana was worth $60 to $90," Nabor, a 24-year-old pot grower in the northwestern Mexican state of Sinaloa, told NPR. "But now they're paying us $30 to $40 a kilo. It's a big difference. If the U.S. continues to legalize pot, they'll run us into the ground."

Another nail in the coffin for drug cartels is the gradual trend of leniency towards marijuana in Mexico. As of 2009, the country decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana.

There is no particular reason that the production and sale of a crop should be associated with violent mayhem and empowering criminals whose comparative advantage in life is the ruthless use of force. Decisions by governments across the globe (largely led by the U.S.) to outlaw certain substances have created that bizarre and awful situation when it comes to marijuana and other drugs, and those governments have the power to change that situation. Thankfully, there are some signs that the exercise of sense on the part of some states is making that change.

NEXT: The Terrifying Faces of Alcohol Inhalation

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  1. It can’t be said often enough:

    Most of the justification for the WOD is based on the inherent violence of black markets. Black markets can be created only by governments outlawing goods and services. Get rid of the prohibitions, you get rid of the black markets, and you get rid of the violence.

    Anybody who says we need the WOD because of the drug gangs has it backwards. We have the drug gangs because of the WOD.

    1. “It can’t be said often enough:”

      Okay, say it again and again and again!

    2. On the other hand, the high taxes and over regulation will make sure that a thriving black market survives.

      1. high taxes and over regulation

        Are just more words that add up to “prohibition”, its true.

      2. Case in point: NYC’s unreasonably high cigarette taxes. Which encourages a black market because it’s easy as hell to get cheaper product from NJ… which encourages police overreach in NY… etc.

        1. …which encourages choke holding

        2. ^This!

          As far as the last time I checked(last quarter of 2014), Missouri has become an intetstate tobacco smuggling mecca due to it’s low cigarette sales tax. It’s very common for out of state U-Hauls to drive through here and hit up smoke stores until they fill their trucks to the roof with cartons of cancer sticks and sell them out of state. The financial demonizing of tobacco products hasn’t reduced the number of people who choose to use them, information on what it physically does to you has.

          All these types of laws do is place money and power into the hands of organized crime syndicates. Which leads to more violence, as well as undermining the purpose of imposing sin taxes in the first place. The original intent was to use taxpayer funds gained by such methods to combat the use itself. The result is the government has began to slowly choked itself out of it’s own monopoly.

          1. The original intent excuse was to use taxpayer funds gained by such methods to combat the use itself.

            Note that there was never even a pretense of cessation programs, etc. The intent was to collect revenue.

      3. Hyperion — Right, just like the black market we now have with alcohol.

    3. Then how do you explain all the violent cranberry, footwear and dairy gangs out there? None of those things are illegal. Well, dairy, a little. Maybe that was a bad example.

    4. Another big chunk of the justification for the WOD is to supposedly prevent people from ruining their lives through addiction. Yet the WOD failing to deliver the goods of actually stopping drug use never seems to matter to its fans.

      1. Its amazing how they admit it BUT drugs are bad mkay. Baffling. Not only do all the sad stories they list happen while drugs are not legal. Theres also the fact that you can reduce ODs with legalization. Because first of all your supply would be more consistant and if you do OD people wouldnt be scared to call a squad.

        1. It’s a simple cost/benefit analysis.

          Drug warriors feel that the cost of locking up more people than any other first world country and shitting on the Constitution while creating a police state are worth whatever benefit there is to the war on drug users.

          1. “more people than any other country”

            FTFY.

            1. I can’t speak for sarc but I believe he limited his claim to “first world countr[ies]” because the others lie about their numbers (or don’t even bother to collect them) and many just kill people rather than locking them up.

      2. Why should that matter? It’s a jobs creator and it got us wonderful asset forfeiture stuff!

        /The cops

        1. There’s no question that there is a massive industry behind drug prohibition and who are heavily invested in its continuation.

          I’d shed tears if they had to look for real jobs. Really, I would!

          1. Most of those people who are involved in the prohibition are the same people who will wind up with lucrative monopolies on the market when it’s all legalized.

            1. Some can transition into that. Some can’t. Prison guards, for instance. Their profiteering off the drug war requires that it be illegal to have drugs. And there are others in the prohibition chain with the same issue. And they will all fight tooth and nail to keep them illegal.

              1. Well, they’ve lost the battle for cannabis prohibition. Even friends/acquaintances of mine who think it should remain illegal, have conceded that it will be legal nearly everywhere in a matter of time.

              2. I’m going to need someone to guard my growing facilities!

      3. Yes, addiction is a problem for people. Yes, addicts can ruin their lives without realizing it and it’s tragic (I’m sure we’ve all seen it happen).

        However, actually treating addicts is a much better use of scarce tax money than throwing them in jail for possession. Especially since many addicts have mental illnesses of which addiction is only a symptom; locking them up only makes them sicker and more likely to commit the “crime” again… which increases the cost to taxpayers long-term.

        1. People get addicted to anything and everything. There are people who are addicted to eating cushion foam and who don’t have any place to sleep because they ate all the foam out of their mattress and then sofa cushions. That can’t be good for you, so we should ban beds. If it saves even one child, don’t we have to?

        2. Treating addicts is a waste of time. Allowing them to seek treatment on their own without having to worry about being punished for drug use is the only way to get any improvement.

      4. Another big chunk of the justification for the WOD is to supposedly prevent people from ruining their lives through addiction.

        Much better that government ruin your life for you by throwing you in a rape cage and ensuring no one will ever hire you.

    5. Anybody who says we need the WOD because of the drug gangs has it backwards.

      Drugs are bad. M’kay?

      That’s the sum total of the argument in favor of the WOD.

    6. Get rid of the prohibitions, you get rid of the black markets, and you get rid of the violence.

      If only there were some historical model to base decisions on.

  2. Does this mean the AG’s from Nebraska and Oklahoma are actually working for the cartels? It would explain a lot.

    1. Either that or they’re a bunch of ignorant SoCons.

      1. Or they have family or investments in the various prohibition related industries.

  3. …and those governments have the power to change that situation.

    *Swoon* Ah, governments, is there anything they can’t do?

    1. Yeah, they have the power to make the world a better place by NOT doing stuff.

  4. Homicides in Mexico have dropped from 22,852 in 2011 to 15,649 as of 2014

    Who cares about those dirty brown foreigners! We have to keep this devil weed off our playgrounds! The DEA promised to save our children and now they’re just sitting idly by and letting drugs become legal!

    1. My uncle’s best friend got a whiff of pot smoke when he was 14 years old, and now he is a telemarketer. Not even once!

      1. A telemarketer? The shame his family must experience!

      2. I smoked more than on a few occasions and I somehow still wound up with a compsci degree and a career as a conultant/contractor/software engineer. It’s not a bad gig. I bet if I had never smoked that devils weed, I would be the next Einstein. Oh well, who wants crazy hair like that anyway?

        1. “who wants crazy hair like that anyway?”

          Guys with no hair?

  5. There is no particular reason that the production and sale of a crop should be associated with violent mayhem and empowering criminals whose comparative advantage in life is the ruthless use of force.

    Americans should have learned this lesson from alcohol prohibition. When alcohol was outlawed, violent gangs fought each other and the police to try to cash in on the lucrative market for a popular drug. When prohibition ended, companies started peacefully competing. You don’t see drive-by shootings between Miller and Bud.

    1. Drug warriors will just say that organized crime will find some other racket, so there’s no point in legalizing their most lucrative product.

      1. Please. If you legalize drugs, literally everyone will always be high on and addicted to drugs.

        1. Every time someone says that, I ask “Would you run out and buy drugs if they were legal?”

          It never seems to sinks in though.

          1. I know. Freaking never. I mostly hate people.

        2. Everyone left after we all immediately OD on heroin cut with rat poison.

          1. Organic rat poison?

            1. Fair trade and ethically and sustainably sourced from indigenous Borneans even.

      2. Drug warriors will just say that organized crime will find some other racket, so there’s no point in legalizing their most lucrative product.

        Unless we really learn the lesson. Prohibition is the problem. Legalize all the “rackets.”

    2. How about raisin farmers?

  6. Mexican jobs are on the line. Under NAFTA, the U.S. has to take affirmative steps to redress the grievances of the Mexican government.

    1. Look, we’re gonna start growing our own pot, we’ll cut back on the corn subsidies and your farmers can go back to doing that, mkay?

      1. Can I haz tequila subsideez?

      2. DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD IT IS TO SMOKE AN EAR OF CORN???!

        1. Take the Ear of Corn challenge!

        2. You should try smoking an ear of pop corn, it’s a blast!

          1. Also it’s great, ’cause if you get the munchies, you’re already set.

            1. +1 kernel

  7. I seriously doubt that legalizing pot in two states is responsible for reducing Mexican homicides by a quarter. Hey, once a few more states legalize, maybe the drug cartels will go into business resurrecting the dead!

    I could just as easily buy the narrative that shrinking the market for illegal drugs would lead to increased violence. The gangsters would be facing increased competition for a smaller market, and that might well make them even more ruthless than before.

    1. Yes. What is more likely going on here is that at some point murder gets to be bad for business. The point of forming a drug gang is to get rich. The murder part is just one of your means to that end. At some point even gangsters get tired of killing each other and want to get down to the serious business of making money.

      That is more likely what is going on here. The drug gangs have gotten tired of killing and dying and are gradually making peace with each other and getting back to doing business.

    2. I could just as easily buy the narrative that shrinking the market for illegal drugs would lead to increased violence.

      Car salesmen must love you. You’ll buy anything.

      1. Why is that not plausible? If the market contracts, the only way to keep from going out of business is to murder my competitors.

        I am all for ending the drug war. Those of us who support that do our cause no favors by peddling bullshit. It is great that marijuana is now legal in a few places. If you think that is what is behind the falling murder rates, car salesman must really love you.

        Things are not that simple.

        1. How’s the reefer dealer murder rate in Colorado and Washington?

          1. What was it to begin with? I don’t think pot dealers ever were known to murder each other in the first place.

            Regardless, the claim is no less ridiculous than claiming the murder rate in Mexico dropped because two out of fifty US states legalized pot.

            And that is the entire point. This article is bullshit and does the cause of ending the drug war a disservice.

          2. Marijuana kills! There’s your answer! Every single pusher of this devil weed is a mass murderer. Why do you think it’s still illegal at the federal level! This little experiment is over, it’s time to start lockin em all up!

            /The SoCons

        2. If the market contracts, the only way to keep from going out of business is to murder my competitors.

          Sure it’s plausible. But most people aren’t murderers. Even drug dealers. Most of them are just normal people trying to make a buck.

          1. It doesn’t sound any less plausible than saying legalization in two states caused the murder rate in Mexico to drop by a forth. And that was the original poster’s point.

            If you are dumb enough to believe this article, I don’t see why you wouldn’t believe his explanation.

            1. saying legalization in two states caused the murder rate in Mexico to drop by a forth

              I didn’t say that. Try reading my posts instead of replying to the voices in your head.

            2. I don’t think it sounds any more plausible either.

              I doubt that the recent legalization has made a huge difference. I think that the general loosening of restrictions on medical pot in the West over the past 10-15 years has probably taken a big chunk out of the market for Mexican weed, though. It has to have some effect on the cartels and how they operate. I’m sure the reduced murder rate has to do with a lot of factors.

              1. Americans only grow pot in states where it’s legal. Everybody knows that.

        3. If the market contracts, there is less money and opportunity to fight over. There is this weird assumption that gangsters are all essentially psychotic Tony Montana types, and all they want to do is kill people and go completely nuts with their little friend. The fact is, they’re not. If the market for something contracts, is it worth fighting and dying over, especially if what you are fighting for isn’t worth that much any more?

          Stop letting your caricature of what criminals are cause you to make faulty assumptions. Think of them as human beings instead, and things will make more sense.

          1. Did you read my post? That was my whole point. The murder rate isn’t dropped because of this. It most likely dropped because the drug gangs finally got tired of killing each other and got back to the business of making money, which is the whole point.

            You have to a moron to think pot legalization caused this. The Mexican gangs smuggle a lot more than pot and there is still a giant black market for pot in the rest of the country.

            1. I’m sure that in big cities there’s still a huge demand for commercial weed, but not in rural areas. Locally grown weed is a huge business, and it’s easier to stay under the radar since it’s usually between friends. As opposed to dealers in commercial shit who will sell to anyone.

            2. I think it’s extremely plausible to say that pot legalization was one factor of several. I can’t see how it wouldn’t have at least some effect. Believe me, people would much rather have boutique weed than Mexican shit, and in WA and CO that opportunity is there and legal.

              Is it the whole cause? No, probably not. But it very likely is some of it.

              1. Maybe. I not buying much of one though. How would that even work? Okay, so the market for Mexican weed goes down. Meanwhile, the market for every other drug stays that same. Why would that lead to less murders? The gangs are still in business. They still have every reason to kill each other. Maybe there are segments of the gangs who only smuggle weed and nothing else. Even then, why would that mean they would stop smuggling and not just move on to smuggling something else? Or maybe keep doing weed but sell it cheaper?

                The whole thing doesn’t add up to me at all. What does add up is that Mexico has been so violent for so long that even the drug gangs couldn’t sustain that kind of violence forever and have finally decided to work together a bit better instead of only using violence.

                1. Okay, so the market for Mexican weed goes down. Meanwhile, the market for every other drug stays that same.

                  The market for every other drug combined is very small in comparison to the market for marijuana. I bet the dent in the marijuana business thanks to domestic weed (I’m talking medical and illegally grown indoor weed, not recreational weed in WA and CO) is as big as the market for all other drugs combined.

                  1. Yeah, it’s not the legal weed that kills the Mexican weed market, it’s the grey market plants where some is diverted to medical and the rest sold in bulk. In 2009 Mexican “brick weed” was scoffed at and I’m sure increased availability of extremely high quality marijuana has only increased this.

              2. Here’s the other thing about states where pot is legal or quasi-legal:

                They now can have a much more robust production capability. Not all of what they grow is consumed in state, I can assure you.

                So the legal states are probably displacing the cartel sources in other states, as well.

        4. If you think that is what is behind the falling murder rates…

          Demand for Mexican weed is way down. It’s much safer to get locally grown stuff (lots of medical marijuana never makes it to patients) from peaceful people trying to make a buck, than from organized crime syndicates who are happy to use violence.
          I’m sure that the medical stuff has had way more of an impact on demand for commercial than WA and CO.
          Yeah, things are not that simple.

          1. No they are not. The drug gangs deal in more than weed. What do you think happens when demand goes down? Do they just stop being gangsters and go to work at the local GM plant? Or do they maybe move their gangster business into other areas? Or maybe just keep being gangster but make less money?

            If you believe legalization is responsible for this, you are delusional.

            Legalize all drugs in all states or something approaching that and then come talk to me.

            1. Yeah they deal in other stuff, but marijuana is by far their most lucrative product. Some estimates say one in four people use it on a semi-regular basis. That’s a lot. Cocaine and heroin are a drop in the bucket by comparison. That and the risk factor for hard drugs is huge compared to that for marijuana.
              Lower demand for Mexican marijuana (due to domestic stuff being so much better and safer to obtain) is most certainly having a large impact on their bottom line.

              1. What John is pointing out is what Frank Costello recognized over eighty years ago.

              2. But is it the most lucrative for Mexican drug gangs? Unlike cocaine and opium, a lot of pot is grown here. The South American drug gangs got rich smuggling. So it would make sense they make their most money from products that can’t be produced here.

                Also, if smuggling pot from Mexico was ever “by far the most lucrative”, why did every single powerful drug lord ever to make the news get rich and become known for smuggling cocaine? Where is the pot smuggling El Capa? The real money is in pot according to you.

                Sorry, not buying it.

                1. Come on, John. You know what margins are. The margin on marijuana is relatively low in comparison to cocaine, but the volume is huge by comparison. Put that economics mindset to work.

                  1. To be fair to John, you have to accept that the principle to which he alerts you, i.e., namely, crime syndicates just don’t go out of business because a product becomes legalized, is a reality and that is why I cited the reasoning of one Frank Costello and how he approached the repeal of Prohibition.

                    1. crime syndicates just don’t go out of business because a product becomes legalized,

                      There’s always things for criminals to do.

                      No reason to hand them huge multi-billion markets for their very own.

                      Organized crime in this country exploded during Prohibition. After alcohol was legalized, there were still other black markets for them (including drugs that had been legal not that long ago, like pot).

                      But I would be surprised if organized crime didn’t shrink pretty substantially when Prohibition was repealed. Anyone know of any research on this?

                2. It definitely is cocaine by margin, marijuana by volume. I’ve read that cartels have been sending “market-makers” up north to establish a cocaine market. It sounded really strange until I met a guy wearing cowboy boots and a hat who called himself Nacho in a dive bar in a poor Pittsburgh suburb that was very forward about asking if I wanted some blow.

                  1. That was Warty in costume setting you up for a trip to his basement.

                  2. +1 Midnight Cowboy

  8. The worst is when people argue that legalizing it would be condoning it. No one gives a fuck what you condone you self-important assholes.

    1. Yeah because they never launch nagging campaigns trying to stigmatize legal activities. Things like smoking and adultery and letting your kids watch too much TV are totally condoned by society since they are legal.

    2. It’s condoning fast food because we don’t throw people in cages for eating it!

  9. OT: Death behind bars. I’ll look forward to not getting a hat tip later.

    http://www.nbc4i.com/story/281…..ehind-bars

    1. No hat tips for you!

      /ht nazi

  10. OT if anyone likes metal, Relapse put out their 25 year sampler yesterday:

    http://relapsesampler.bandcamp…..tamination

    184 songs. A lot of them are the “hits” of bands (“March of the Fire Ants” from Mastodon? I mean come on); but there’s a lot of good stuff in there, and hey, it’s free.

    1. I love metal. Thanks.

    2. I love my metal like I love my Duncan Hills coffee: Blacker than the blackest black! Times infinity!

  11. Who will HSBC launder money for now?!?!

    WON’T SOMEBODY THINK OF THE CROOKED BANKERS!!!

    1. No one gives a fuck.

  12. Correlation does not imply causation has been invoked many times by writers here, except when trying to prove something they like true.

    I don’t doubt it’s lowering prices, but I don’t see how that equates less violence “Hey Pedro, now that we aren’t making as money, let’s stop killing those bastards in that other cartel.” “Okay boss”

    If anything, you’d think that since money is getting scarcer, there would be more fighting. .

  13. Sometimes man you jsut have to roll with it.

    http://www.AnonWeb.cf

  14. Remind me please, no other worth while activities being found in the offing, to express my sympathy, perhaps to shed a tear or two re the diminished fortunes of those Mexican Drug Cartels.

  15. Six months ago I lost my job and after that I was fortunate enough to stumble upon a great website which literally saved me. I started working for them online and in a short time after I’ve started averaging 15k a month… The best thing was that cause I am not that computer savvy all I needed was some basic typing skills and internet access to start…
    This is where to start???.

    ?????????? http://www.netpay20.com

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