A new study has shown that the legalization of marijuana in different states has reduced drug smuggling and made the Southern U.S. border safer. This research was conducted by the Cato Institute.
The Cato Institute analyzed data on how much marijuana has been seized by Border Patrol agents over time. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) regularly releases statistics about the different drugs that have been seized at the different ports of entry into the country.
The analysis shows that over a period of five years, the quantity of marijuana smuggled has reduced by a whopping 78 percent. Similarly, the amount of marijuana seized by each Border Patrol agent has reduced by an average of 70 percent.
Colorado and Washington were the pioneers of marijuana legalization, and there are nearly a dozen states that have now ended the prohibition of marijuana. Many more are set to follow suit in the coming years as ballot measures and legislative action is already in advanced stages in several states as this year ends.
The Cato analysis is timely since it comes at a time when the White House is pushing hard for the construction of a wall on a large section of the border with Mexico. In fact, disagreement over the border wall even caused a partial government shutdown that is still ongoing.
The analysis of smuggling data shows that building a wall at the Mexican border isn’t likely to reduce the rate (and quantity) of the drugs smuggled into the U.S. Remember, the number of Border Patrol agents was dramatically increased between 2003 and 2009, but the CBP seizures data didn’t show any decline in the per-agent marijuana seizures. Only legalization has resulted in such a reduction since most consumers are more comfortable buying their cannabis from regulated sources instead of taking a chance with the smuggled substance for which no quality controls are implemented.
It is also worth remembering that the U.S. government constructed hundreds of miles of border fencing at about the same time when it doubled the CBP workforce, but there was no change in the data on smuggling. It may therefore be reasonable to expect that the wall may not fare any better since the real reason for smuggling (the lack of legal marijuana in some states) hasn’t been addressed.
As for the different marijuana industry players like Plus Products Inc. (CSE: PLUS) and Phivida Holdings Inc. (CSE: VIDA) (OTCQX: PHVAF), the Cato research is yet another piece of evidence that marijuana legalization has so many direct and indirect benefits.
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