As legalized marijuana continues to pick up steam in the United States, Mexico and it’s drug cartels are beginning to feel the effects. Larger quantities of marijuana are now being produced domestically, which is dropping the demand for Mexican weed.
Nabor is a 24-year-old pot grower in the northwestern Mexican state of Sinaloa. In a recent interview with NPR, he told them, “Two or three years ago, a kilogram [2.2 pounds] of marijuana was worth $60 to $90.” Now Nabor is only bringing in $30 to $40 per kilo, half or even a third of what he could have raked in before. Nabor says that if the United States continues the trend of legalization, it will put him out of business.
Nabor has been growing weed since the ripe age of 14. He talked with NPR about the dangers of growing the still-illegal plant, saying “If the army comes, you have to run or they’ll grab you.” And the risk is just barely outweighing the rewards already. Nabor says that when the $40 per kilo price drops to $20 per kilo, they will no longer be able to make money.
In a November 2012 study, the Mexican Institute of Competitiveness predicted up to a 30 percent decline in Mexican weed prices due to US decriminalization.
High times editor Daniel Vinkovetsky told NPR, “American pot smokers prefer American domestically grown marijuana to Mexican grown marijuana.” The higher quality, soaring potency, and legal access all factor in to why we’re buying American grown. The cheap Mexican weed is not cured or trimmed like American weed, is of much lower quality, and is usually compressed in order to smuggle it across the boarder.
Lawrence Payne, spokesman for the DEA says that it doesn’t stop there. Payne is reporting that now the demand has shifted, and some Mexican residents are purchasing legal weed from Colorado and smuggling it back south. The hope for Mexicans and Americans alike is to put an end to cartel violence. Whether US decriminalization can do that or not is still an open question.