Nov 6, 2012

Legalizing Marijuana in Latin America

Several US States will vote on legalizing marijuana (not just consumptions, but also medical and for profit use). From a post in The Economists
That would make it more expensive than imported Mexican pot. But home-grown marijuana is much better quality than the Mexican sort. The content of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the part that gives you the giggles, is between 10% and 18%, whereas in Mexican pot it is only about 4% to 6%. Once you adjust for quality, Washington pot would be about half the price of the Mexican stuff, even after it had made its expensive illegal journey to New York. IMCO reckons that home-grown marijuana from Colorado, Oregon or Washington would be cheaper than the Mexican stuff virtually everywhere in the country, with the exception of a few border states where the Mexican variety would still come in a bit cheaper.

As a result, it estimates that Mexico’s traffickers would lose about $1.4 billion of their $2 billion revenues from marijuana. The effect on some groups would be severe: the Sinaloa “cartel” would lose up to half its total income, IMCO reckons. Exports of other drugs, from cocaine to methamphetamine, would become less competitive, as the traffickers’ fixed costs (from torturing rivals to bribing American and Mexican border officials) would remain unchanged, even as marijuana revenues fell. 
Legalisation could, in short, deal a blow to Mexico’s traffickers of a magnitude that no current policy has got close to achieving. The stoned and sober alike should bear that in mind when they cast their votes on Tuesday.
If you replace "marijuana" or "pot" for "aspirin" above, Latin America should legalize it as well. 

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