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Legalization Works As Demonstrated By US/Mexico Cannabis Seizure Data

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The war on cannabis has always been a war on people. The harms of cannabis prohibition have caused havoc and suffering all over the globe, including in North America.

For many decades cannabis was completely prohibited in Canada, the United States, and Mexico. Cannabis is still prohibited at the federal level in the United States, and in Mexico it’s still prohibited for adult use, however, cannabis is legal nationwide in Canada now.

At the local level cannabis is legal for adult use in a growing list of states in the US despite federal prohibition. Virginia recently announced that it will legalize cannabis for adult use in the coming years, making it the 16th state to do so. Washington D.C. has also legalized cannabis for adult use.

All of that legalization is coupled with medical cannabis reform. Medical cannabis is now legal almost everywhere in North America in one form or another, from limited CBD laws all the way up to robust medical cannabis programs.

Reform victories have led to the creation of numerous legal cannabis markets throughout the North American continent, including in the United States where the demand for cannabis is tremendous.

One of the biggest selling points for cannabis legalization is that it transfers cannabis sales from an unregulated system that has a large organized crime and cartel presence to a regulated system that provides for the sale of tested, regulated, and taxed products, with taxes benefitting all of society.

There’s new data out regarding seizures of cannabis at the US/Mexico border, which is insightful given how much unregulated cannabis has been smuggled from Mexico into the US over the course of many decades.

As expected, border seizures have diminished with more consumers opting to shop within a regulated system, which is detailed in a news release below via our friends at NORML:

Marijuana seizures along the southern border have fallen over 80 percent since 2013, according to data published this week by the US Drug Enforcement Administration.

In the agency’s 2020 National Drug Threat Assessment publication, author’s write: “In US markets, Mexican marijuana has largely been supplanted by domestic-produced marijuana. In 2019, CBP [US Customs and Border Protection] seized nearly 249,000 kilograms of marijuana along the SWB [southwest border], a decline from over 287,000 kilograms in 2018. CBP marijuana seizures along the SWB have decreased more than 81 percent since 2013, when almost 1.3 million kilograms were seized.”

Marijuana seizures at the southern border reached an all-time high in 2009, when nearly four million pounds of cannabis were confiscated by federal agents.

Colorado and Washington became the first two states to legalize the commercial production of marijuana for adults in 2012. Thirteen additional US states have since passed similar laws.

Commenting on the sharp decrease in US demand for Mexican-produced cannabis, NORML’s Political Director Justin Strekal said: “This dramatic shift in the cannabis supply chain is a welcome development. As reformers predicted, when given the option, consumers choose their cannabis to be grown in America. States’ decisions to legally regulate cannabis has, as expected, led to a precipitous drop in demand for imported cannabis and has significantly disrupted the illicit cannabis trade in Mexico. These are important developments to emphasize as additional states continue to discuss replacing cannabis criminalization policies with those that seek to legalize and regulate the marijuana marketplace.”

The full text of the DEA’s 2020 National Drug Threat Assessment is available for download.