The growing legalization of marijuana in more than two dozen states across the U.S. is resulting in an increase in cheap heroin and methamphetamines being smuggled across the border by Mexican traffickers.
Sharp decline in marijuana seizures
Legalization has given Americans access to high-quality, genetically improved, greenhouse grown cannabis. According to drug seizure statistics, cannabis seizures by U.S. federal, state, and local authorities has declined 37 percent since 2011 as higher grade domestic varieties are being produced be legal and quasi-legal means.
Mexican marijuana sales sidelined for stronger alternatives
Cheap, seedy marijuana previously cultivated in Mexico is now being replaced with opium poppies by Mexican farmers for later cultivation into black “tar” heroin, a cheap alternative to expensive oxycodone for American pain pill addicts. Heroin seizures have tripled since 2009. Meth labs in Mexico are also on the rise, where the chemicals used to cook up the drug are far easier to obtain. An staggering 90 percent of meth on U.S. streets is estimated to have been cooked in Mexico.
A shifting market
Criminal organizations are no longer trending toward marijuana, whose trade has slumped due to falling demands for Mexico’s low-quality “brick weed.” Instead harder drugs are on the upward trend. Drugs which are more profitable in small amounts, easier to transport and conceal than marijuana, and inexpensive for users.
Treatment needs rising
As Mexican production capabilities and methods improve, abusers of prescription painkillers from housewives to adolescents are increasingly turning to Mexico’s booming heroin business as a cheaper alternative. An estimated 10 million Americans abuse painkillers, and it is these addicts who are a prime target. There has been a threefold increase in heroin use in the past five years alone, especially as the U.S. crackdown on prescription painkillers has made them more expensive and difficult to obtain.
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