The events related to drug cartels in Mexico are really hard to swallow. Believe it or not, it is estimated that cartels make around $1.5 billion to $2.5 billion a year from moving marijuana into the United States. But recently, as a result of medical marijuana legalization in the United States, it is now proven that legalization is actually hurting the Mexican cartels financially. That’s a good thing.
According to the Los Angeles Times, “A Mexican farmer used to earn $100 per kilo of marijuana and now earns $30 per kilo.”
In 2008, two-thirds of marijuana in the U.S. came from Mexico. Now it is down to one-third. In the past two years, marijuana trafficking from the cartels has declined up to 70 percent. Not only is marijuana legalization causing the cartels lose money from illegal and dangerous activity, but it is also helping the U.S. government use the tax revenue from legalized marijuana sales to be put to better use.
Legalizing Marijuana Helps
In the United States, there are 23 states that have legalized medical marijuana use. The legality of medical marijuana allows tax revenue to be used for more proper things. In Colorado, where all marijuana use is legal, $35 million in tax is going to fund public schools. It is estimated that California can make up to $1 billion in taxes by legalizing recreational marijuana. That $1 billion can be used to fund public schools, highways, the unemployed and many other good causes. It is also important to note that the government would save about $100 million a year on marijuana-related crimes.
Mexico is also making a push for legalization in order to hurt cartels. Under legalization, the marijuana trade “would not be attractive for purposes of drug trafficking,” the mayor of Mexico City said, adding that “it would be a blow” to the cartels that currently control the illegal market. With so much danger and fear for losing your life in Mexico, it seems like a small price to pay when marijuana has been proven less dangerous than alcohol, which is already legal and is making about $8 billion dollars in taxes every year.
Instead of all the marijuana money going to criminal cartels, wouldn’t it be best if legalized proceeds from marijuana were put to better use? There’s the debate that legalization will increase drug use, but why is that okay for alcohol, which is much worse?