3 States Voting on Pot Legalization Could Have Major Impact on Drug Cartels

Sunday, November 04, 2012

If voters in Colorado, Oregon and Washington on Tuesday pass ballot measures legalizing possession of marijuana they will be striking a blow against the violent drug cartels that sell Mexican weed in the U.S., according to a new report from a respected think tank in Mexico City. Marijuana has been illegal nationwide since 1937.


Passage of the laws “could be the biggest structural blow that [Mexican] drug trafficking has experienced in a generation,” said study author Alejandro Hope, a security expert at the Instituto Mexicano para la Competitividad (Mexican Competitiveness Institute). The study argues that U.S. grown pot would be less expensive and higher quality than that grown in Mexico, which would cause a collapse in demand for the cartels’ product and cut into their profits by 22% to 30%.


Critics of legalization contend the proposals could instead allow the cartels to make up for lost profits on smuggling by investing in pot-growing operations inside the U.S.


Polls indicate that the Washington and Colorado measures will likely pass, but Oregon’s, which would place the fewest restrictions on pot, appears headed to defeat. In any event, as AllGov has previously reported, the federal government will probably take steps to undermine state-level legalization wherever it passes.


The states, however, possess a potent weapon in any conflict with the federal government, for state and local law enforcement provide the foot soldiers in the so-called “war on pot,” and the federal government lacks the manpower to investigate and prosecute simple pot possession cases, of which there are about 750,000 per year nationwide.

–Matt Bewig


Study: Pot Legalization in U.S. States Could Hurt Mexican Cartels (by Tracy Wilkinson, Los Angeles Times)

Mexico Study: Legalizing Pot Could Cut into Cartel Profits (by E. Eduardo Castillo and Kristen Wyatt, Associated Press)

Possible Impact of Legalizing Marihuana in the U.S. (Mexican Institute for Competitiveness)


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