The growing legalization of marijuana in the United States could be starting to put the pinch on one of the biggest exporters of weed through the years to this country: Mexican drug farmers.
A drop in south of the border sales is due to two factors: Growing legalization of a much-better product and a negative brand image of Mexican cannabis — sometimes referred to as "ditch weed," a reputation that has plagued it since the 1970s, say experts. While Mexican marijuana can be grown in mass quantities, its final potency is said to not compete with plants currently grown in controlled indoor conditions in the U.S. and Canada. The growth of the plant has been refined by innovators with different methods. fertilizers and techniques, according to Al Olson, managing editor of Marijuana.com, who has spoken with growers over the years.
"Consumers go by reputation," he told CNBC, stating that the risk of shipping subpar Mexican product into the country is not worth the trouble in the face of legalization. This is evidenced, he said, by a drop in the number of seizures at the border. In fact, there was a 23.6 percent decline in the total weight of marijuana seizures along the southwest border from 2013 to 2014, according to the DEA's 2015 National Drug Threat Assessment Summary. It claims that more than 900,000 kilograms of cannabis were seized along the southwest border alone.
"The reasons for this decline are not well defined and remain unclear; cartel intentions and the possible impact of domestic legalization initiatives are continuing intelligence gaps relative to the levels of Mexican marijuana entering the United States."