Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Monday, August 9, 2021

Mexico City: Illegal Pot Increasingly Entering Mexico

"Sol Prendido" for Borderland Beat

Demand has grown with the legalization of marijuana in California, other states

The most sought-after marijuana being trafficked across the U.S.-Mexico border is now the weed entering Mexico, not the weed leaving it.

Cannabis sold legally in California is heading south illegally, dominating a booming boutique market across Mexico, where buying and selling the drug is still outlawed. Mexican dealers flaunt their U.S. products, noting them in bold lettering on menus sent to select clients: "IMPORTADO."

Traffickers from California load their suitcases with U.S.-grown marijuana before hopping on planes to Mexico, or walking across the pedestrian border crossing into Tijuana. One car was recently stopped entering Tijuana with 5,600 jars of gummies infused with THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. But relatively few of the southbound traffickers are caught -- even as their contraband doubles or triples in value as soon as it enters Mexico.

"The demand here for American weed has exploded," said one dealer in Mexico City, who estimated that 60% of the marijuana he sells now comes from California. The dealer spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of arrest. "It's aspirational for many of my clients. They want to be seen smoking the best stuff, the stuff rappers brag about smoking."

Over nearly a century, the U.S. spent billions of dollars combating drug trafficking from Mexico -- and for many years marijuana was at the center of that effort. The strains smoked by American actors and rock stars pointed to Mexico's geography: Acapulco Gold, Michoacan Cream, Jarilla Sinaloa.

The weed in those days arrived on speedboats, through tunnels and even by slingshot. Sometimes the marijuana drug "mules" that crossed the Rio Grande were actually horses.

But as some states, including California, legalized cannabis and professionalized its production, the world's most famous cannabis strains -- with a new string of American names like Girl Scout Cookies and Bubba Kush -- could suddenly be purchased just north of the U.S.-Mexico border, including at outlet malls walking distance from Mexican territory.

At Urbn Leaf, a marijuana dispensary in San Ysidro, Calif., a few hundred yards from the border into Mexico at Tijuana, owner Josh Bubeck estimates that 55% of his customers are Mexican nationals. His employees warn them that bringing marijuana back to Mexico is a violation of Mexican law, but to work at Urbn Leaf is to understand the draw.

"Nobody is going to grow cannabis better than California probably ever," Bubeck said.

Back in Mexico, he said, especially for younger smokers, the appeal is clear: "You're showing 'This is what I'm about. I'm a bad ass. I got this from America.'"

For years, advocates of legalizing marijuana in Mexico have argued that the country could establish an enormously profitable industry, given its years of producing the drug illicitly. 

The Sinaloa Cartel has reportedly been looking into establishing its own legal cannabis subsidiary in Mexico.

But legalization has moved much faster in parts of the U.S. than in Mexico, giving places like California a huge advantage. Some California weed farms have even hired Mexican migrant workers to tend their fields. The state's cannabis industry produced $4.4 billion in sales in 2020.

This July, Mexico's supreme court struck down laws which criminalized the cultivation of cannabis for personal use. But lawmakers have not yet passed legislation that would allow for a commercial marijuana market. 

It is still technically illegal to buy or sell marijuana, and it is nearly impossible to regulate the quality of Mexican cannabis products available on the illegal market.

"Mexicans want to try what they see in music video, in movies, in media, and that's usually American," said another dealer in Mexico City, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity because of fear of arrest. "We still have this idea that the best products come from the U.S."

NWA Online


  1. The best of the best is what sells. Despite the legal aspects & consequences marijuana is the next big thing to ending the alcohol prohibition era. Added with anything imported for being labeled illegal.
    And that is how traffickers make money.

    1. Shit is like Buchannan bottles refilled with Huachicol Whisky imported from china or second hand designers calzones with free rayita de canela sold in mexican flea markets, just make your own wrappers printed in legal pad paper and go show off your pinche grifa imported.
      What I hate is the pinchis Californios burning of all the state trees to make room for their pinchis yerbas...

  2. Waaaaaaay back in the day us hippie backpackers would buy slabs and chunks and powder of hashish in US cities such as St. Louis, Chicago, Detroit, etc. and take it along on our trips throughout Mexico. It lasted a long time and was easier to conceal than Mexican mota. One of the problems we faced as low-budget hippies is that when we tried to score weed (and I've done it in every state in Mexico except three) our connect would want to know "cuantos kilos quieren?" and we were like, "pues nada mas un caruffo (lid)" and some of the time they would just scoff and give us some. True story!

    BTW, now in the SFBA and SoCal too you can buy hundreds of different kinds of marijuana (now called cannabis mostly), hashish, hash oil, edibles, etc. legally and at reasonable prices given the quality. So I imagine that the party people going to Cancun, Cabo, etc are bringing their own just like we used to. We used to say "transporting hashish to Xalapa is like carrying coal to Newcastle, but much funner."

    -Loyal BB Reader From SF (my first visit here in a while, love the new site but dios mio los comentarios).


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