Californians smuggle marijuana to Mexico for profit
The tables have turned. Now, with marijuana being legal in many parts of the United States, legal cannabis from California is being trafficked into Mexico and sold above market rates. Buying and selling marijuana in across Mexico remains a crime, though the private recreational use of the drug became legal after the Supreme Court of Mexico ruled that the law prohibiting its use unconstitutional.
Now, Californians are loading suitcases, boarding flights, walking across the pedestrian border crossing into Tijuana, and packing their cars with marijuana to sell south of the border. Few southbound traffickers are stopped, though there have been arrests. One car was caught smuggling 5,600 jars of THC infused gummies.
The quality of marijuana from the United States is noticeably better than what’s readily available in Mexico. One dealer explained to the Washington Post that 60% of his sales comes from US marijuana. Historically, America spent billions of dollars combating marijuana imports from Mexico as they battled the failing war on drugs. Mexican smugglers used to arrive on speedboats, through tunnels, and reportedly even through slingshots.
With higher quality marijuana available just a short distance from the Mexico border, Mexican nationals make the journey to supply their customers with the better quality substance. One marijuana dispensary owner in California claims that about 55% of his customers come from Mexico. He warns them that bringing cannabis back to Mexico violated Mexican law, but understands that they will likely not find better cannabis elsewhere.
The blackmarket sale of American marijuana is actually hurting Mexican businesses who are trying to follow the law. The owner of Monterrey, Mexico-based HempMeds, recognizes that THC products coming from California currently have a huge advantage over his shop, which specializes in CBD sales. US marijuana products are priced higher due to the assessment of risk. One ounce of a high-end California marijuana strain can sell as high as $500 in Mexico, while going for as little as $150 in San Diego.