Cannabis has been making its way into the United States since the early 1900s and up until recent legalisation in multiple states, Mexican cannabis accounted for nearly 40% of all cannabis in the country. The history of the U.S., Mexico and cannabis is a complicated one. After the Mexican Revolution of 1910, immigration into the United States increased dramatically. The influx of immigrants influenced the introduction of the recreational use of "marijuana", which was Mexico’s colloquial name for cannabis. Adding to the already negative stigma surrounding the drug, ignorant police officers in Texas then began spreading rumors claiming that cannabis incited violent crimes—giving people even more reason to fear “Reefer Madness.”
Cartels & Mexican Cannabis
Legalisation in Washington and Colorado meant turning the page of prohibition that the U.S. had been stuck on since 1914. Since this time, Mexican cartels had become exceedingly rich and powerful from smuggling cannabis into the United States. According to an article written by Vice, the drug cartels of Mexico earn 30-40 percent of their income through the sale of cannabis. According to the same article, legalisation cut the cartel’s total cannabis sales by 30 percent. This is, of course, inevitable especially considering Mexican cannabis has always been famously bad. Complaints of dry, discolored cannabis was most likely due to the smuggling process across the border—most cannabis is sealed and packaged for several days while concealed. In recent years as legalisation has swept the U.S., American border services report a 25 percent drop in cannabis seizures since 2011 and the Mexican side indicates a reduction of over 30 percent.
Legalisation & the Future of Cannabis
The legalisation of cannabis has allowed for Americans to see what a properly regulated cannabis market can look like (again, think Colorado and Washington). With regulation comes some serious perks to the cannabis community: those who were smoking Mexican cannabis were given a serious upgrade to legally grown and specialized cannabis along with a system that lets you better understand what you are putting into your body—like THC ratings, CBD content, oils and edibles. So all this added value of a legal market has lead to the decline of expensive, crappy Mexican weed which has dealt a severe blow to the Mexican economy. According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, higher quality cannabis is now being exported to Mexico from legal cannabis markets (like Colorado) in the United States.
The Future of Cannabis in North America
The polls have shifted in the United States in favor of legalisation for the entire country. Granted, legislative change does not happen overnight but at this point, federal cannabis reform is inevitable. As this occurs, the benefits of a legal cannabis market will become undeniable, further enticing the rest of North America towards similar laws — not to mention other European countries, like we’re seeing with Italy and Germany. There is also potential for Mexico to move in a similar direction, considering their longstanding history with cannabis. In the meantime, however, the biggest gangs in the country might have something to say about the government cutting further into their profits.