State Marijuana Legalization Would Hobble Mexican Drug Cartels, Study Finds

Passage of one of the three state ballot measures to legalize marijuana in Washington, Colorado or Oregon could significantly weaken Mexican drug cartels, according to a new study by a Mexican think tank. “It is estimated that around one-third of Mexican drug gangs’ income is from marijuana, surpassed only and narrowly by cocaine,” according to the LA Times.

Legalization in even one U.S. state would likely cut into cartels’ profits by 22 to 30 percent, based on estimates that U.S.-produced marijuana would retail at a little more than half the price of illegally produced Mexican pot, the study by the Mexican Competitiveness Institute concludes. However, the study assumes that marijuana producers in the state where it is legal will distribute to customers in other states where it is illegal, an action that would inherently create a different type of illicit market and be particularly susceptible to federal prosecution.