Marijuana Legalization in Colorado Is Killing Mexican Drug Cartels
Since 2014, Mexican drug cartels have been suffering economically after marijuana was legalized and became conveniently available in Colorado. Operations in Mexico and along the southern border of the United States have reportedly been affected.
According to an ABC News article, the legal production, sale and distribution of recreational marijuana in Colorado is one of the contributors of reduced smuggling operations by Mexican drug cartels. A post on the Weed Blog, a site that supports marijuana use and legalization, also acknowledges that drug trafficking by Mexican drug cartels waned, seeing a decline of up to 70 percent over the past two years in relation to Colorado's change in legislation.
The findings were confirmed by an official report by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in October 2015. The report indicated that there has been a year-on-year 23 percent reduction in border smuggling in 2014. Furthermore, authorities have seized about 900 tons of illegal marijuana along the U.S.- Mexican border.
Fox News Latino noted that Colorado legalized marijuana in November 2012, after majority of voters agreed to Amendment 64. Carnegie-Mellon University and the University of Maryland provided reports that showed how a black market in Colorado offered a kind of pot that was shown to be more potent than the illegal Mexican type, resulting to a decrease in drug smuggling operations among Mexican cartels.
Colorado was the first state to officially offer recreational marijuana and is expected to rake in huge sales and tax revenues in the next few years, writes The Motley Fool. Citing the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division (CMED), The Motley Fool wrote that retail marijuana and medical marijuana sales totaled over $900 million in 2015. The state still has policies and limitations as to which retailers can set up shop. Colorado imposes a standard sales tax, special sales tax, licensing fees and application fees, among others.
In the same ABC News article, it was revealed that some federal authorities are concerned that Colorado may have given drug traffickers a safe haven who buy or grow weed within the state and then sell these in other places where the product is banned. The violators come from various locations like Mexico, Cuba and other nearby states. Legalizing marijuana in Colorado may have made it easier for drug traffickers to transport the product to nearby areas, which is a concern.
More updates and details on Colorado’s marijuana laws and effects are expected soon.