Up until a few years ago the only way to get recreational marijuana was illegally. This benefitted mostly the drug cartels – and honestly, who wants to do that? With the rise of states offering legalized recreational marijuana, the cartels are likely to take a hit – but how much? And will this help eradicate marijuana cartels?
Probably not, since some states will never legalize recreational marijuana. But Arizona has strong beliefs in how to tame the cartels. Law enforcement leaders say the change will strengthen cartels, allowing them to infiltrate the legal pot market and driving them to sell more hard drugs. Advocates of legalization say it will undercut the cartels by eliminating a key segment of their business. Also, they could easily move into another drug, such as cocaine or heroin – the latter of which is gaining popularity in the states thanks to its pricing. Customs officers confiscated more than 4,100 pounds of meth and 863 pounds of heroin at Tucson sector border crossings last fiscal year. That’s a 46 percent increase in meth and a 77 percent increase in heroin over the last two years. The amount of meth seized so far this fiscal year has already surpassed last year’s.
Now that the cartels have competition with product that is regulate and more pure, they may panic. Even so, the border patrol seized more than 800,000 pounds of pot last year coming into the United States. If recreational marijuana is legalized in California, these numbers could drop – but they could find other ways to sell their product to states that do not have legalized pot. The Southeastern US is less likely to legalize pot than northern or western states, so this is a possibility.
What do we do? Well, there’s nothing much that we can do – except vote. And urge our lawmakers to help pass laws to legalize marijuana in some form. For some states it will be tougher, thanks to their I&R laws, but it isn’t impossible. This helps eradicate some of the cartels, and it helps keep everyone safe, thanks to the regulation of legalized marijuana.