American marijuana consumers increasingly favor high-quality, U.S.-grown cannabis, prompting Mexican cartels to transition to heroin and meth production and distribution, The Washington Post reports.
Seizures of marijuana at the Mexican border have dropped 37 percent since 2011, a period that’s seen a dramatic transformation of marijuana policy in the U.S., the newspaper reports.
Staff writer Nick Miroff writes:
Made-in-the-USA marijuana is quickly displacing the cheap, seedy, hard-packed version harvested by the bushel in Mexico’s Sierra Madre mountains. That has prompted Mexican drug farmers to plant more opium poppies, and the sticky brown and black “tar” heroin they produce is channeled by traffickers into the U.S. communities hit hardest by prescription painkiller abuse, offering addicts a $ 10 alternative to $ 80-a-pill oxycodone.
Meanwhile, reports Miroff, heroin and meth seizures at the border are on the rise. Miroff details the challenges border officials face when it comes to detecting drugs in vehicles attempting to cross into the United States.
Heroin and meth are far easier to transport and conceal than marijuana. Especially worrisome to U.S. officials is a growing trend of more border-crossing pedestrians carrying the drugs strapped under their clothing or hidden in body cavities.
“The criminals are trying to blend in among the legitimate travelers, who are 99 percent of the individuals crossing through here,” said Aki, the San Ysidro port director. “That’s the hard part for us.”
Meanwhile, the number of Americans addicted to heroin is increasing. Oregonian staff writer Les Zaitz recently dug deep into Oregon’s own flawed system for treating people addicted to drugs.
— Noelle Crombie