A recent report issued by the Congressional Research Services (CRS) attached to the United States Congress states that the demand for illegal cannabis from Mexico has declined and will continue to decline as cannabis legalization spreads.
Authorities predict a continued decline in U.S. demand for Mexican marijuana because drugs other than marijuana “are likely to predominate,” the CRS wrote in its report. “This is also the case because of the legalization of cannabis or medical marijuana in several U.S. states and Canada, reducing its value in the portfolios of Mexican organizations.
It notes Mexico itself is “also considering the legalization and regulation of cannabis” after a Supreme Court decision ruled that the prohibition of personal possession and consumption would be unconstitutional in 2018.
The full report, entitled “Mexico: Organized Crime and Drug Trafficking Organizations,” examines the latest drug trends and cartel activity and notes that Mexican law enforcement seized 91 tons of cannabis and destroyed more than 2250 hectares of cultivation in 2019.
Based on border patrol seizures, smuggling has dropped by 78% in just five years,” the focus group noted. Because marijuana was the primary drug smuggled between the ports of entry, where the border patrol monitors, the value of seizures for the agency as a whole decreased by 70%.
The report notes that cartels’ diversity among various criminal activities resulted by American and Mexican drug enforcement efforts or as a response to changing drug use patterns in the United States, such as the legalization of marijuana in some American states (and in Canada) and increasing demands for plant-based and synthetic opioids.
In late 2019, a report by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts appeared to support the idea that legalization has an impact on cannabis trafficking, noting that while federal prosecutions for drug crimes increased in 2019, cases involving cannabis fell by more than a quarter.