“See, if you look at the drug war from a purely economic point of view, the role of the government is to protect the drug cartel. That’s literally true.”
― Milton Friedman
It’s been almost a century since the ban on cannabis began at the international level. We’re starting to see the results of these controls. And the picture shows drug wars, wars on drugs, drug enforcement agents, and cartels.
But, legalized cannabis markets bring good news. The war on drugs can come to an end because it’s not necessary in an organized legal market.
In a recent congressional research study (CRS) researchers found out what we’ve suspected for a while. The legal sale of marijuana hurts the illicit cannabis market.
Legal Cannabis Hurts Cartel Revenue
The study confirmed, when given a choice, people prefer buying marijuana legally. People rather get weed from the dispensary than call up their local dealer.
One latin american analyst called it years before. Trafficking marijuana doesn’t pay in a legal market.
The analyst studied trends of seized marijuana. She found they decreased significantly in the period from 2012 to 2018. This period correlates with the time frame of cannabis industry growth.
The estimated amount of seized marijuana in 2012 was approximately 3 million pounds. By 2018, the amount of seized illegal marijuana fell to ½ million pounds.
Despite the favorable news, the CRS doesn’t conclude the cartel crime will end. Agents will still have plenty to do.
Legal marijuana doesn’t mean cartels will go out of business. They’ll move on to more profitable criminal endeavors. Selling heroin and cocaine. Still, the sting of legal marijuana to cartel revenue is a lesson for our governments.
Prohibition Leads to Organized Crime
Prohibition measures gave cartels the opportunity to profit from marijuana.
Despite the risks they organized distribution channels and cultivation networks.
They controlled the prices. And people were willing to pay. Cartels were making big profits and governments couldn’t put a stop to it.
When governments asserted control by banning marijuana they forgot one important thing. . .
There was a big enough demand for marijuana someone had to supply it. Cartels profited from organized cannabis sales. One modest estimate for annual revenue from drug trafficking is $64 billion. Higher estimates are available.
Prohibition created a way for cartels to profit from the sale of illicit marijuana.
The Legal Marijuana Industry Undoes the Damage
The legal marijuana market is reversing the effects of prohibition.
Cartels have seen a decrease in their revenue from marijuana. And law abiding citizens can buy marijuana without being a criminal.
Legal marijuana gives farmers used to working for cartels a chance to grow legally. They are no longer subject to the risk of criminal activity. It’s not known whether their pay scales have increased or decreased.
Legalizing marijuana hurts crime. Less crime should be a great thing, but governments aren’t agreeing yet.
Really, the praise ought to go to the legal marijuana industry.