Legalizing “Weed” Has Done What 1 Trillion Dollars and a 40 Year War Couldn’t

Posted by on March 20, 2016 in Agencies & Systems, Government, Policies with 16 Comments



By Nick Bernabe | Antimedia

The $1 trillion War on Drugs launched by President Nixon in 1971 created the Mexican drug cartels, now legalizing weed is killing them.

The Mexican drug cartels are finally meeting their match as a wave of cannabis legalization efforts drastically reshapes the drug trafficking landscape in the United States. It turns out that as states legalize cannabis use and cultivation, the volume of weed brought across the border by Mexican drug cartels dramatically decreases — and is putting a dent in their cash flow.

A newly-released statistical report from the U.S. Border Patrol shows a sharp drop-off in cannabis captured at the border between the United States and Mexico. The reduction in weed trafficking coincides with dozens of states embracing cannabis use for both medical and recreational purposes.

In fact, as the Washington Post reports, cannabis confiscations at the southern border have stumbled to the lowest point in over a decade — to only 1.5 million pounds. That’s down from a peak of four million pounds in 2009.

Related Article: Ethan Nadelmann: The Failure of the War on Drugs and a New Way Forward

Speaking to Anti-Media, Amir Zendehnam, host of the popular show, “In the Clear with Amir” on cannabis-oriented network Z420.tv, told us what he thinks of these new statistics:

“The economics of the cannabis industry show us that with healthy competition in the market, prices drop, quality rises, violence diminishes, and peaceful transactions increase. As constant new research emerges detailing the plant’s benefits, the negative stigma of using cannabis, both medicinally and recreationally, is diminishing, raising the demand for high quality product.

“Colorado, for example, is experiencing an economic boom that has never been seen in the state. The biggest issue in Colorado today is what to do with the huge amounts of revenue and economic success the state is gaining as a result of legalization. The Colorado model has proven that legalization reduces crime rates, cuts prices, pushes unfavorable competition out of the market, provides cleaner products with heightened transparency, and increases the standard of living for society as a whole.

“The only people hurt by continued societal acceptance and legalization of cannabis are the cartels and their friends, who have flourished for decades as a result of drug prohibition.

Related Article: Is The War On Drugs Nearing An End?

“As legalization spreads across the U.S. and the rest of the world like wildfire, I predict the industry will soon become one of the most dominant and beneficial industries humanity has ever seen.”

And the new competition from legal states has taken a big bite out of the entire illicit Mexican marijuana food chain. “Two or three years ago, a kilogram [2.2 pounds] of marijuana was worth $60 to $90,” a cannabis farmer in Mexico said in an interview with NPR. “But now they’re paying us $30 to $40 a kilo. It’s a big difference. If the U.S. continues to legalize pot, they’ll run us into the ground.”

Consumers are also starting to see the difference. Cheap low quality Mexican cannabis has become almost impossible to find in states that have legalized, while prices for high quality home-grown have steadily decreased.

This is good news for Mexico. A decreasing flow of cannabis trafficking throughout the country will likely lead to less cartel violence as revenues used to buy weapons dry up. Drug war-related violence in Mexico was responsible for an estimated 27,000 deaths in 2011 alone — outpacing the entire civilian death toll of the United States’ 15-year war in Afghanistan.

Related Article: UN To Call On Governments Around The World To Decriminalize All Drugs, Says Richard Branson

These developments reinforce criticism of the War on Drugs as a failed policy. Making substances like cannabis illegal simply drove the industry underground, helping make America the largest incarcerator in the world.

Legalizing cannabis will also save the United States a great deal of money. As Mint Press News reported:

“Since Richard Nixon declared a war on drugs in June 1971, the cost of that “war” had soared to over $1 trillion by 2010. Over $51 billion is spent annually to fight the drug war in the United States, according to Drug Policy Alliance, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting more humane drug policies.” 

Early reports from Colorado’s cannabis tax scheme show that revenues that will ostensibly help schools and rehabilitation efforts by flooding the state with cash. In fact, Colorado became the first state to generate more tax revenue from cannabis than alcohol in one year — $70 million.

But why stop with cannabis legalization? As more and more drug propaganda is debunked thanks to the legal weed movement, it’s time to also advocate for drug legalization across the board. The drug war’s criminalization of substances has done nothing to stem their use, and has simply turned addicts into criminals, even though plenty of experts agree that addiction is a health issue, not a criminal one.

See the video below to hear what Russell Brand has to say about addiction being a health issue not a criminal one.

Maybe it’s time for the U.S., Mexico, and other countries to embrace the Portuguese and Irish model of treating addiction to drugs like an addiction to alcohol or cigarettes, using rehabilitation — rather than incarceration — to confront the problem.

Author: Nick Bernabe

Nick Bernabe founded Anti-Media in May of 2012. His topics of interest include civil liberties, the drug war, economic justice, foreign policy, geopolitics, government corruption, the police state, politics, propaganda, and social justice. He currently resides in Chula Vista, California, where he was born and raised.


This article (Legalizing Weed Has Done What 1 Trillion Dollars and a 40 Year War Couldn’t) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Nick Bernabeand theAntiMedia.orgAnti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, email edits@theantimedia.org.

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  1. 240393066292719@facebook.com' Thamara Tyler says:

    Being a cancer patient. Although my cancer wasn’t at a painful point. I can really see the benefits to it. It also stimulates the desire to eat. Which is very helpful to those in need. God made that plant not judgemental man. I’m 50. There are many other symptoms this helps with like glacoma, generalized pain. Not everyone does it for the high. Open minds for severely open times

  2. 179742372386773@facebook.com' Melanee Packard says:

    My, now ex-husband, is a drug addict. Pot WAS a gateway drug for him. Smoking it from once a night, before bed, to smoking it every 25 minutes until the high couldn’t be achieved thus forcing him to do stronger drugs. I can not support making it legal because of the propensity for SO MANY to follow his path of destruction. I’m 49 years old and have to start over with my kids because of HIS addiction and choices. Making it legal would allow those much younger than he is to spiral out of control much easier and sooner in life.

    • 217499941943141@facebook.com' Thomas Smith says:

      That’s an individual problem not everyone’s sorry you had to go through that but not everyone wants to do hard drugs

    • 1681445665467561@facebook.com' Paul Lawrence says:

      Melanee Packard, I have has my issues with marijuana. What, I think was a major contributor to those problems was that, as a young adult I was forced underground & had to become part of an illegal subculture. That sets you apart from the mainstream. It isolates you & provides no education on the drug you are using & appropriate boundaries. The Netherlands has been legal for quite some years & marihuana use is not higher their than other places…..I think treating it as a health issue & not a criminal one is much wiser for all involved. Use of any drug to excess on a daily basis is unhealthy!!! I learned the do’s & don’ts of marihuana use off men 10 years older than me!!! & they were not so big on the don’ts side of things… I also think the illegality of the drug further challenges & isolates young people using it for coping mechanisms for anxiety &/or depression!!! Get it out if the hands of the black market & use the taxation received for research & education!!! The war on drugs is a proven failure, so time to change tac, I say. Cheers, Paul

    • 240393066292719@facebook.com' Tammy Tyler says:

      “Gate way drug?” As a teenager. I smoked it! But as an adult I left it! It is an individual choice to do or not do drugs. Commonsense is a new “gateway” drug. It’s weeds of variety sprayed with chemicals! And household cleaners that our young are using. It so much more dangerous that Marijuana!!!! Because they can’t test for it. Change one chemical changes test. Do you know what EMS and E.R. medics do they sit back and watch to see if victim dies or not. Because they have no clue as to which medicine may save or kill the person that used it. Educate yourself on what’s out there. Everyone has a certain level of THC in their blood. I have family outside that use the Common my child! I’d rather see him on Marijuana any day. That way when he has seizures from Common? Or hallucinations. That wouldn’t happen if Marijuana were legal. They also die from heart failure too. All because they can’t trace it. So please re-think it. Before judging it. My child is a junkie on and off. And I’m gonna say. He makes that choice. There isn’t a gateway! They just do it or dont.

    • 179742372386773@facebook.com' Melanee Packard says:

      Thomas Smith I agree.

    • 179742372386773@facebook.com' Melanee Packard says:

      Paul Lawrence thank you, Paul.

    • 179742372386773@facebook.com' Melanee Packard says:

      Tammy Tyler I said for SOME, not all. My concern are the young people that don’t have the knowledge about themselves to make the right decisions.

    • 960797077346073@facebook.com' Richard Jensen says:

      Booze is easier and cheaper yet so damaging. Pot is only dangerous to Doritos.

    • 557492747764404@facebook.com' Anna Lloyd says:

      He was an addict..pots NOT a gateway…If your an addict it could b anything .sex,drugs,booze,spending

  3. 10154577181883238@facebook.com' Giovanna Lambrianos says:

    I have encountered sad traumatised helpless teens who suffer with mental health issues and would turn to anything out there to escape their pain for a while.
    They are not criminals they need support understanding and help to find other ways to escape the anxiety and mental torture their sensitive brains are struggling with.
    Be hard on the suppliers but help these young people in therapy centres with training at non complex interests that give them focus and a sense of achievement. Science is finding surfing to help PTSD and autism without the use of drugs it seems to work. Look it up. Foundations should be set up for these struggling teens to go to at no charge and get support they need without judgement. Easier said than done …

  4. 224976441187388@facebook.com' John Carroll says:

    im 28 years old and sence i was 13 years old i have seen first hand how well marijuana has helped a man with ms. his name was bill and he was a stand up guy. i worked for him doing the things that he couldnd do any more. and it included growing his medicine. seeing how it grows naturally from the earth and how much relief it brought him i couldnt put together every thing they taught us in the D.A.R.E program in school. after that i had a history teacher that tought us about the constitution and what our rights are and i felt it is our god given right to grow a plant that helps so many people. he never sold any never hurt or stole from any body so why would it be aginst the law. in my opinion the usa has went from a republic to socialism. most of the big wigs in our government get paid to make weed illeagle. by cotton industry, big pharma,oil. and much more. this plant can do so many things to create jobs and bring america back. clothes food medicine oil paper rope building material for houses and its a renuable resorce no need for pestacides from monsantos. we the people are the government so why is the govenment treating us like there a monarchy and herding us like sheep. if they leagalized this plant you would see a world of change of good in this country. ps parden my grammer and spelling 😉

  5. 960797077346073@facebook.com' Richard Jensen says:

    I’m 52. I have ADHD. Pot settles me down. It helps me sleep, eat, and helps my anger issues. I engage more. I enjoy life and people more. Without it I drink too much. I have met the smartest, funnest, sweetest people. My life is richer for it.

  6. 557492747764404@facebook.com' Anna Lloyd says:

    70/ “The crop of the future” science mag..1950s..Since congress couldn’t tax it fir sale..they banned it..then spent billions on lies,false propaganda,films. Than Viet Nam started the “War on Drugs” which cost more billions..& broken lives/families. All for a plant that grows free & natural on this earth..& can be beneficial to man. All about $$$$

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