Breaking Legal: Mexico’s legal cannabis market is just beginning to bud and the Sinaloa Cartel already has plans to hijack it

Breaking Legal: Mexico’s legal cannabis market is just beginning to bud and the Sinaloa Cartel already has plans to hijack it

VicesFebruary 04, 2021 By Will Brendza

Last November, the Mexican government passed legislation that made cannabis a legal recreational substance at a national level. In doing so, they left the US behind as the only nation in North America where cannabis is still illegal.

There was a fair amount of controversy over the bill, though. Not only because the legislation’s language seemed to deny smaller family-owned farms and individual entrepreneurs any opportunity in the legal industry, in favor of bigger much wealthier businesses, but it also appeared to be sending a lot of the business North of the border.

Regardless of the opposition, the bill became law and now Mexico is starting to set up the infrastructure and legal framework for a nationally legal cannabis market. One that will not only bring in millions of dollars in tax revenue for the state, but which will also tear away income from the drug cartels.  

Naturally, the drug lords of Mexico are not happy about this, according to sources among their ranks. While their illegal cannabis trade has notably reduced since legal cannabis started spreading in the US, it still represents between 15-20% (gratuitously) of their profit margin. Which, when these organizations are making between $6-29 billion annually, is still a net loss of between $900 million and $4.35 billion.

Those numbers are all estimates, of course — no one really knows how much the Sinaloa cartel makes, let alone the percentage of their business that comes from cannabis sales. But the point is: they stand to lose a decent chunk of change off of the legalization of cannabis in Mexico.

And the Sinaloa Cartel are not people to take a loss sitting down. The stories about what these guys do to people who steal from them are truly, magnificently horrific.

So not surprisingly the Sinaloa cartel is already making plans to hijack Mexico’s legal market. According to a cartel operative speaking with the Daily Beast, members are going to infiltrate the legal marketplace and introduce “more powerful marijuana” grown using high-tech methods like genetic modification and hydroponics. You, know — the kinds of technology we’ve been growing with here in Colorado for over a decade.

“We are learning. We bring the equipment from the U.S. and most of the seeds from Europe and also from the U.S., like the California Dream. These new plants are more potent, they test up to 60 to 70 percent THC, as compared to the 5 or 8 percent in the Mexican one,” the Sinaloa cartel farmer told the Daily Beast.

According to this source, the cartel hasn’t been able to sell their cannabis north of the border because it’s garbage schwag; turd nuggets; backyard boogie — it’s not the kind of stuff we buy in stores, to put it politely. And it’s not selling on the streets up here. In 2015 the amount of cannabis caught moving across the border was over 600,000 pounds — just five years later, in 2020 that number has dropped by over half to just 290,000 pounds.

But, if the cartel can wriggle their slimy tentacles into the legal cannabis market and start selling high-potency high-quality cannabis under the pretense of lawful businessmen — they might be able to change that. They might be able to cover their losses selling to Mexican citizens instead of trying to run it across the border.

At least, that’s their hope.