US Legalization Causing A Drop In Mexican Cartel Murders

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US Legalization Causing A Drop In Mexican Cartel Murders

The damage caused by the War on Drugs is no more apparent than in the countries that actually produce them. Fortunately, this is ending for Mexico, where legalisation has seen murder rates drop.

When people talk about the War on Drugs and Mexico, it is often cartels and brutal violence that tends to spring to mind. However, with the legalization of marijuana sweeping throughout the US, Mexico is seeing cartel activity take a dive.


It is not hard to see why, Mexico is reported to be the biggest supplier of illegal marijuana to the US. Imagine you had a dealer, but then started either growing your own personal supply, or buying it legally. Your dealer would lose out on money. The same thing is happening between Mexico and the US. Cannabis is estimated to make up for 40% of cartel income*, and the sweeping legalisation of cannabis has dramatically hit this.

*Source: Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know by J. Caulkins, A. Hawkins, B. Kilmer, and M Kleiman.


In 2014, US border patrols reported a 24% drop in cannabis seizures, with the Mexican government also reporting to have seized 971 metric tonnes from within the country – the lowest since the year 2000. Since then, many other states have also legalized cannabis, which should once again dent illegal demand. However, this has not been the only effect of legalization. Since the US started legalizing cannabis, Mexico’s homicide rates have dramatically declined, hitting a total of 15,649 last year – a 25% reduction from the norm. This is huge saving in life, and one of the biggest achievements of legalizing cannabis!

Of course, the cartels of Mexico are diversified, and don’t solely rely on cannabis to make money. The legalization of cannabis is not the answer to all of Mexico’s gang related problems, but it is certainly helping.