May 23 2013
photo by Pepe Rivera/Flickr.com
This commentary appeared on NYTimes.com on May 22, 2013.
Much of the marijuana consumed in the U.S. comes from Mexico. It's impossible to know exactly, but my colleagues and I put the range at 40 to 67 percent for 2008. Our research also suggests that legalizing commercial marijuana production at the national level could drive out most of the marijuana imported from Mexico.
With marijuana legalization at the state level, imports from Mexico would depend on several factors, like how taxes influenced the market price, whether legally sold marijuana were illegally diverted to other states, and the severity of the federal response.
We don't expect the passage of legalization in a few states to significantly affect demand for Mexican marijuana. But what would happen to Mexican drug trafficking organizations if many states legalized marijuana or if there were national legalization?