U.S. marijuana consumers fuel Mexican drug cartels
Published: Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 16:02
Many consider marijuana a harmless drug. Marijuana is impossible to overdose on, is not as addictive as other drugs and does not often lead to violent crimes or actions. However, marijuana’s origins are constantly ignored.
Although marijuana is portrayed as safe, the drug does not magically appear in the hands of consumers. Marijuana leaves a very long and very bloody trail behind, a trail that can be traced all the way back to Mexico. When people spend money on marijuana, they are fueling Mexican drug cartels who have killed tens of thousands of people in the ongoing drug war.
According to the National Drug Intelligence Center, Mexican-based criminal organizations operate in more than a thousand U.S. cities. Three different Mexican drug cartels distribute drugs in New England: the Sinaloa Cartel, the Golf Cartel and the Juarez Cartel. The Massachusetts National Drug Threat Assessment concludes that most of the marijuana distributed is of Mexican origin.
Marijuana is smuggled into Arizona, California, Nevada and Texas, and then transported to Massachusetts by criminal organizations. In the past ten years, the decrease in Colombian traffickers on the East Coast has created a competitive advantage for the distribution and sale of Mexican marijuana.
High demand for marijuana in the United States encourages the drug’s production in Mexico, as well as its subsequent trafficking. Most of the drugs produced in Mexico are exported to the United States, since its narcotics market is 60 times bigger than Mexico’s, according to Luis de la Barreda Solórzano, director of the University Program for Human Rights in the Universidad Autónoma de México. The American population is 2.5 times bigger than the Mexican population, and yet Americans consume five times more drugs. Additionally, selling drugs in the United States is much more profitable than in Mexico because one gram of marijuana is 10 times more expensive in America.
Studies conducted by the anti-money laundering community show that Mexico is the main destination for U.S. drug dollars. Drug export revenues for Mexican drug cartels are about $2 billion annually, according to Miguel Molina Foncerrada, director of CFI Consultores S.C (International Financial Consultants). Drug cartels then use a large part of this profit to acquire weapons in the United States. U.S. firearms agents estimate that around 80 percent of weapons used by Mexican drug cartels come from the United States.
Some suggest that by legalizing marijuana in all states, the United States will send less money to drug cartels in Mexico. According to estimates, legalization would decrease the drug’s price by 80 percent. However, as long as Americans continue buying marijuana from Mexico, money will continue to end up in the hands of people who are willing to torture, extort, kidnap and murder in order to keep the drug business alive.
Many people are under the impression that Mexico is too far away for its drug cartels to distribute drugs locally. However, Mexican drug cartels have developed complex transportation and distribution networks that reach as far as Canada. Distance has not stopped drug cartels from distributing marijuana in the farthest corners of the United States and Canada, but definitely bars consumers from being conscious and concerned about the origins of their purchases.