Drug Law

Mexican Drug Cartels Make Bulk of Cash from Pot in U.S.?

| by NORML

A report released today by the RAND Drug Policy Research Center undercuts the longstanding federal government claim that Mexican drug gangs are reaping the bulk of their profits from the exportation of marijuana to the United States.

States RAND, “The claim that 60 percent of Mexican drug trafficking organizations gross drug export revenues comes from marijuana is not credible.”

And just who was the source of this ‘not credible’ statistic? In this case, full credit must go to the nation’s top anti-drug office, the Office of National Drug Control Policy — aka the Drug Czar’s office.

Marijuana big earner for Mexico gangs
via The Associated Press
Posted 2/21/2008 8:55 PM

MEXICO CITY — Marijuana is now the biggest source of income for Mexico’s drug cartels and the U.S. is committed to cracking down harder on traffickers, U.S. drug czar John Walters said Thursday.

“We’re trying to increase the force with which we’re attacking this problem,” Walters said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. “This is a focus because of the overlooked importance marijuana has in the violence.”

Walters made the comments following a meeting with Mexican officials who want the U.S. to prosecute marijuana cases more zealously to reduce the amount of cash gangs can spend on guns.

… Walters said the U.S. government is seeking additional resources to prosecute traffickers of marijuana, which now earns cartels about $8.5 billion or about 61 percent of their annual estimated income of $13.8 billion. Cocaine sales earn the cartels about $3.9 billion, and methamphetamine about $1 billion, he said.

Today RAND retorts, “Mexican DTOs’ annual gross revenues from illegally exporting marijuana and selling it to wholesalers in the United States are likely less than $2 billion.”

So who should we believe? On the one hand we have the federal government, which consistently lies about marijuana to further their own agenda. On the other hand, we have RAND, which also isn’t above making its own specious claims to further their own agenda — which in this case seems to be opposing California’s Prop. 19.

Ultimately, however, the dueling statistics don’t really matter. Regardless of whether Mexican cartels are reaping 60 percent of their profits from pot or 16 percent, the fundamental principle remains the same: the criminal prohibition of marijuana fuels an underground, unregulated, black market economy that empowers criminal entrepreneurs and jeopardizes the public’s — and the marijuana consumer’s — safety.

If you want to bring control of this market over to regulators, lawmakers, and licensed business, then you support legalization. If you wish to continue to abdicate control of this market to criminal gangs and drug traffickers, then you support prohibition.

The choice is up to you.