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  • Alaskans are finally able to legally smoke, now that recreational marijuana legislation

  • has gone into effect. Like in Washington, Oregon, and Colorado, the legalization continues

  • to carve the path for nationwide decriminalization. But as more states allow for controlled, homegrown,

  • legal pot, Mexican drug cartels are left with less demand for their most popular product.

  • So how badly is US marijuana legalization affecting the Mexican drug trade?

  • Well, for Mexican cartels, growing and selling weed is an extremely lucrative business.

  • Other drugs, like cocaine, have much higher profit margins. But unlike marijuana, cartels

  • are forced to buy cocaine from Colombia, while weed can be homegrown in Mexico. According

  • to the White House, in 2006, marijuana made up $8.6 billion out of a total $13.8 billion

  • in revenue for cartels - that’s nearlyof their entire revenue stream- although this

  • figure has been considered high.

  • However, reports show that since Americans have been buying more US grown pot, the price

  • has plummeted from $100 a kilo five years ago, to less than $25 today. Mexican pot farmers

  • have reportedly complained that they cannot make enough money to justify the risk of supplying

  • traffickers. Plus, US grown weed can be up to four times stronger than Mexican brick

  • weed. And although US weed is more expensive, it does not need to be smuggled across the

  • border. In fact, cartels have begun to ship marijuana out of the US due to the price and

  • quality.

  • Although one Mexican think tank suggested that cartel revenue would fall by up to 50%

  • as a result of marijuana legalization, they really don’t seem to be struggling to make

  • up the difference. One of the reasons is that while states surrounding Colorado, Oregon

  • and Washington are mostly buying their marijuana locally, more southern states, like Texas

  • and New Mexico, still rely on cartel weed. And when California, which consumes one seventh

  • of all US pot, decriminalized marijuana, cartel profits dropped by only a few percentage points.

  • Some think that major cartels like the Sinaloa Cartel and the Zetas are able to withstand

  • lower marijuana profits by increasing their role in other illegal trade, such as heroin

  • and meth sales and human trafficking. Despite losing out on some marijuana profits, the

  • cartels continue to be as active as ever.

  • Colorado has learned a lot about just what legalizing pot can do for the economy and

  • crime rates. To see what theyve found so far, check out our video right up here

Alaskans are finally able to legally smoke, now that recreational marijuana legislation

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