by David Downs
Voting Yes on Prop 19 would make the country safer by further defunding violent Mexican drug cartels, an independent study from the RAND Corporation released today has found. Californians' great, low-cost cannabis has already pushed out expensive, low-quality Mexican dope from the state's market, the study found. If Prop 19 passed and California's domestic exports went up — as they likely would — the same effect would happen across the country. Mexican drug cartels could lose 20 percent of their revenue, amounting to $2 billion dollars a year, RAND found.
The study is called “Reducing Drug Trafficking Revenues and Violence in Mexico: Would Legalizing Marijuana in California Help?” It was crafted by RAND drug policy expert Beau Kilmer, along with Jonathan P. Caulkins, Brittany M. Bond, Peter H. Reuter.
The authors found Mexican cartels make about $2 billion selling pot to Americans.
“If legalization only affects revenues from supplying marijuana to California, [cartel] revenue losses would be very small, perhaps 2 to 4 percent."
But if California exports its newly legal, high-quality, low-cost product to other states, “it could undercut sales of Mexican marijuana in much of the U.S., cutting [cartel] marijuana export revenues by more than 65 percent and probably by 85 percent or more. In this scenario, the [cartels] would lose approximately 20% of their total drug export revenues.”
RAND also found the federal government has been vastly overstating the importance of pot to Mexican drug cartels. The U.S. government has said pot profits comprise as much as 60 percent of Mexican drug cartel export revenues. That number “should not be taken seriously”, RAND found. It's probably between 15 to 20 percent.
RAND will be holding a conference call on their study at 11 a.m. PST and Legalization Nation will have another post from the call later today.