Cannabis Traffic Shifts Across U.S.-Mexico Border

Tijuana-San Ysidro border crossing.
Tijuana-San Ysidro border crossing.
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The illegal marijuana trade across the U.S.-Mexico border has experienced a dramatic shift in recent years as both nations — some more gradually than others — ease their restrictions on the drug.

Although popular perception still views traffic as largely one-way — from Mexican growing operations to U.S. consumers — the Washington Post reports that large quantities of U.S.-made cannabis products are actually headed in the other direction.

In California’s booming cannabis market, individuals can purchase marijuana and infused products from dispensaries within driving or even walking distance of the border, and can generally cross into Mexico without much difficulty.

Once in Mexico, they will find a booming market for famed cannabis strains imported from the U.S., particularly among young and higher-income Mexicans. An ounce purchased for $150 in San Diego could fetch $500 in Mexico, the Post reported, while cannabis cookies are marked up as much as 300% across the border.

Mexican growers, of course, have cultivated cannabis for generations, but those operations remain illegal as lawmakers’ efforts to legalize the drug in the county have stalled — while as more and more U.S. states embrace recreational marijuana.

Legal cultivation and sales in the U.S., in fact, caused production to plummet in Mexico, where public officials are concerned about the potential economic fallout.

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