How Mexican marijuana legalization is affecting cannabis farmers of generations in Mexico
Mexico is poised to become the world’s largest legal cannabis market. Some experts estimate that everything will be set in stone by the end of April.
While I took the time to explain what this would mean for the average consumer and potential business owner, there is a group of people we haven’t looked at.
I’m talking about the cannabis grower, of course!
You see, Mexico has international clout for cannabis. Many people think that cannabis originated in Mexico when in reality it was probably brought by settlers a long time ago.
Mexico has a reputation for weeds due to the sheer volume it has sold these days – the weeds produced in Mexico have fallen out of favor in favor of the average consumer. This in turn posed a problem for those who have cultivated the plant for generations.
Now that legalization is imminent, these cannabis growers face new challenges.
Get to know Maria!
Maria is mother and lives in Sinaloa. She is 44 years old and has been cultivating cartels for a long time. These days their crops are sitting in a woodshed waiting to be picked up.
“It has never happened to us where we harvest and store in sacks,” said María, who only bears this name out of fear of antitrust reprisals.
The cartels have long begun to shift their drug cultivation from cannabis and more to heroin or fentanyl because Americans have an appetite for these drugs and because cannabis in the US does everything the cartels can cook and ship.
In many cases, cartels prefer to grow on the state side now, which allows them to improve the quality of the cannabis.
To transport cannabis, they usually spray it with chemicals and condense it to the point of destroying its terpene and cannabinoid profiles. This is why “burrow” is so “dig”.
Price cuts for farmers
There are many generation cultivators like Maria who are concerned about legalization. This is because once legalized, they become goals to be followed by the government.
While Mexican law is likely to have some provisions for these communities, most of the industry will be in the hands of foreign and national investors.
Cultivators in Sinaloa say that in the past five years the price per kilo has been halved, and a decrease in demand has also been a problem. That is why half of Mary’s harvest sits on her land.
Although cannabis sales have declined, Mexico remains the largest US supplier of cannabis outside of the US.
Farmers begin to change crops
One effect that legalization had on cannabis growers was the relocation of their crops. For starters, some farmers take better care of their crops and grow varieties of higher value.
This is good to highlight the overall quality of “street herb” as it is called here in Mexico. Other farmers began incorporating opium poppies to replace their incomes that were impacted by U.S. legalization.
This could also be a minor reason for the heroin and fentanyl influx in the US – as cartels increased the production of these substances.
For example, cannabis farmers can bring in about $ 25 per kilo, while opium can produce thousands of dollars when converted into opium gum.
As an aside – I had some of that opium gum when I was in Oaxaca, and it’s not bad at all.
Farmers don’t know how to deal with the inevitable legalization that could happen as early as the end of the month or late September.
In the meantime, they remain in a kind of limbo.
What will happen after legalization?
There are two main options that can be played. The first is that these mountain communities will enter the legal market.
There is talk of making it easier for these rural communities to access the legal system. The problem, however, is that even if it is going to be legal [in those regions] The cartels will continue to control the trade.
You see, the cartels control practically everything in these regions. Hell, the Carels control avocado production in Michoacan, they control the car dealership in Tampico – they have practically everything under control.
Legalization is supposed to throw the cartels off balance, but who can say the cartels won’t just gobble up these legal farms?
While the Marines regularly search the areas, they simply do not have the manpower to deal with cartels in the area.
Some farmers are interested in legal cannabis
There are farmers who like to venture into legal trade – but as already mentioned, they still have to adhere to the narco rules.
Unless the government creates some kind of protection system for these farmers, they must continue to pay tribute and sell to the “lord of the land”. If not, it could mean a violent and bloody end not only for the farmer but also for the whole family.
Where will Mexico’s weed market be the best?
These rural areas will be difficult to convert to the idea politicians are aiming for because of the cartel issues mentioned above. However, there is a little more control within the cities.
That’s not to say there won’t be drug dealers trying to extort money from legal cannabis companies – mark my words, it will happen!
This will likely only happen to the “smaller fish” as the Mexican government won’t allow this to happen to the larger investors as well. You know, those who are investing in massive farms and implementing vertical integration – creating jobs and money for Mexico.
If the cartels are investigating – for example, hemp drugs – one could easily expect the Marines to respond. However, if it’s just a shmoe calling Jose with his pharmacy and operating – I don’t see a lot of protective measures, at least not yet.
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