|Backers of marijuana legalization measures on the ballot next week in Colorado, Washington, and Oregon -- sorry, California, but nobody ponied up the cash to give us the choice -- have an enemy with means: Mexican drug cartels, whose profits might dip as a result of legalization, according to a new study.|
|What the advocates have been saying for years.|
Legitimate, legal cannabis would sell for half as much as illicit Mexican weed, the think tank posits. That's "enormous," the usually marijuana-hating Los Angeles Times reported. That's also common knowledge among opponents of the drug war, who reacted to the study with a "duh."
As much as one-third of Mexican cartels' income stems from marijuana, the study says. The study doesn't say how cartels would react to the legalization of their cash crop in the United States -- would they become more violent; would they switch to blue meth? -- but it does believe that American-grown marijuana would be of better quality as well as cheaper.
Of the three legalization measures, Colorado's has the best chance of passage. Washington's I-502
includes a marijuana sobriety standard that cannabis advocates detest
, and Oregon's
appears poorly funded and has low visibility. That leaves the Rocky Mountain state, whose regulated, for-profit medical cannabis market may help otherwise-wary voters choose an end to marijuana prohibition there.
Legalization would hit one cartel the hardest, the study believes: the Sinaloa cartel, based in western Mexico, which handles most of the marijuana smuggled across the border, according to study author Alejandro Hope.
One-third of Mexican drug gangs' profits come from marijuana, the study claims. Cocaine is the second-most profitable drug.