A Move to Legalize Marijuana in Mexico Has Stalled, But Growers and Gangs Are Already Plotting how To Cash in On the Emerging Industry!

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Marijuana legalization has stalled in Mexico, but farmers and cartels are still making big plans to profit off a new market

Daily at 5:00 a.m. Margarita, a 51-year-old farmer, leaps out of bed and lights a candle to Saint Judas, who is reputed to listen to lost or nearly impossible causes.

Margarita then enters her front yard and inspects her marijuana plants, which are concealed by a camouflage-coloured cloth.

“I pray to Saint Judas every morning so the authorities would not destroy my plantation. It took so much effort to rebuild it after it was damaged the last time “She revealed to Insider. During a 2019 operation, Mexican military forces destroyed Margarita’s weed crops.

Margarita does not work for any of Mexico’s criminal organizations or cartels. Marijuana harvesting has been her family’s tradition for more than a century; she is carrying on a practice that she has inherited from relatives.

“I am not particularly involved in the latter stages of the plant’s production. I harvest, select, and prune my plants, and if someone wants them, that’s good. If not, I store it until it sells,” she explains.”

The Sinaloa Cartel’s jailed leader, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán, was born in Badiraguato, and the region remains the cartel’s base of operations.

Margarita is only concerned with the fact that her product is not selling as well as it did five years ago. “What do I do when the full sacks of cannabis remain in the warehouse for a couple of months? How can I survive if I am not selling? “In an interview, she stated the following:

Margarita benefits from a government assistance program called “Sembrando Vida,” which provides approximately $220 per month to small farmers in states like Sinaloa and neighboring Chihuahua and Durango — a region known as the golden triangle for the intensive cultivation of marijuana and opium poppy there — to promote local development and discourage drug production.

“I attempted to cultivate tomatoes, but they sell even less than marijuana. The large corporations grab all the sales, and I have very little to offer “in terms of quantity, she stated.

With the current marijuana pricing, Margarita earns approximately $25 per kilogram. She anticipated earning at least $500 for her harvest this year, but more than half of it remains unsold.

“It is not a good time for marijuana. People are requesting a different marijuana, the one produced by the gabacho, but we do not have the seeds for it “Margarita stated, using a word for the United States.

Like other independent growers, Margarita is prohibited from conducting formal sales in Mexico, where legalization efforts have stagnated. In 2019, when Congress passed a bill legalizing the use, possession, and cultivation of marijuana, negotiations over such a measure commenced. Four years later, it remains stalled in the Mexican Senate.

In 2021, the Senate passed a bill legalizing recreational marijuana usage, but MPs in the lower house stalled the proposal while attempting to increase the planned limit of 28 grams for customers to carry in public.

While marijuana remains primarily illegal in Mexico, farmers and criminal organizations are positioning themselves for a market that may soon be legalized.

“We are not awaiting legislation. The Mexican government has already taken too long, while other nations continue to profit while our farmers continue to struggle “Andrés Saavedra, a lawyer and the creator of Plan de Tetecala, an NGO that supports independent cannabis growers and the decriminalization of cannabis, stated as much.

“We are now focused on independence and will continue to cultivate marijuana for the Mexican market, which wants to use the plant in various ways,” he said.

Old Product, New Market

Since a number of U.S. jurisdictions legalized marijuana, cartel profits appear to have taken a hit, prompting Mexico to consider legalizing.

Prior to the 2012 legalization of recreational marijuana use in Colorado and Washington, the Mexican Institute of Competitiveness estimated that such measures may cost Mexican cartels over $2.8 billion.

In the years that followed, more states legalized marijuana, and the amount of marijuana smuggled into the United States from Mexico appears to have decreased. According to the DEA, US police intercepted around 1,300,000 kg of marijuana at the border in 2013. In 2019, this decreased to approximately 249,000 kilograms.

Over the past five years, the price of marijuana in Mexico has plummeted by more than fifty percent, driving criminal organizations to develop more deadly substances, such as fentanyl, to retain revenues and independent farmers to gather opium to survive.

The idea of a legal domestic market has piqued the interest of criminal organizations that previously focused on importing marijuana into the United States, particularly the Sinaloa Cartel, whose members are analyzing the success of clinics in the United States.

“This was accomplished by altering the seed. They demand stronger, higher-quality marijuana, and we are investing heavily in this industry “An agent of the Sinaloa Cartel told Insider in a phone chat.

Another Sinaloa Cartel employee who works as a regional manager for marijuana operations in Culiacán, the capital of Sinaloa state, told Insider in a prior interview, “This is a company that belongs to Sinaloa.” We lost a portion of the company, but we will quickly regain it by creating the finest marijuana in the world.

After the January arrest of “El Chapo” Guzmán’s youngest son, Ovidio Guzmán, the Sinaloa Cartel’s marijuana activities are supervised by two of his brothers: Iván Archivaldo and Jess Alfredo Guzmán, members of “Los Chapitos.”

According to the agent and other business professionals, the cartel is “extremely interested” in marijuana legalization. Some say that it is due to Los Chapitos’ affection for the plant and its alleged health advantages. Others believe it to be a strictly corporate choice.

Margarita, on the other hand, cannot afford to cultivate “premium quality cannabis” because the seeds are at least ten times more expensive and the equipment used to maintain the plants in cartel-run grow rooms is costly.

“I am aware that if I had the other weed from the gringos, I could sell it for twice as much, but it is also extremely expensive. And I have no idea how the señores will react if I enter that business “Margarita remarked, referring alternately to American and Mexican drug lords. “I might get into problems if you ask me,”

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