Since California first made marijuana widely available for medical use in 1996, cannabis producers in the U.S. (legal and otherwise) have steadily chipped away at drug cartel profits with higher quality, locally sourced product. Now that 23 states have legalized marijuana for medical use and four states plus the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana for adults, the days of violent, well-funded Mexican drug cartels are drawing to a close.
“If the U.S. continues to legalize pot, they’ll run us into the ground,” states Nabor, a poor 24-year-old marijuana farmer in the northwestern Mexican state of Sinaloa.
Mexican cartels stand to lose up to $1.8 billion in annual revenue, think tank The Mexico Institute for Competitiveness estimates.
“Nabor quietly says he thinks he’s done with marijuana. He’s considering planting opium poppies, because that’s where the market is going”.
History repeats itself
Anyone looking objectively at marijuana prohibition in the U.S. must take note of another group of people that that we rarely remember, and that is the movement to end alcohol prohibition in the 1920’s led by citizens who knew it was prohibition itself, not alcohol, that was the main source of violence during those tumultuous times. Indeed all of the famous gangsters of the time—Al Capone, Lucky Luciano, Bugs Moran and the like—became who they did because of the profit derived from distributing illegal liquor, and the violence that came along with protecting those illegal profits was just an unfortunate side affect for these people.
And so it goes for the war on drugs, where hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost due to violence by prohibition gangs (cartels) protecting their profits. As more and more Americans warm to the idea of legalizing marijuana the need for cheap, imported product will continue to dwindle and a very bloody chapter in our history will finally begin to heal.