Mexican cartels are often compared to corporations. And in some ways they are. Like any international business, they are constantly innovating and adapting to compete in one of the fiercest capitalist markets of all: the transnational drug trade.
Legalization advocates argue that Mexican cartels are taking a hit from the gradual legalization of marijuana in the United States, which has allowed U.S. consumers in a handful of states to purchase domestically grown weed. While some analysts remain skeptical about the impact legalization is having on the overall cartel business, there are indications that these criminal organizations are adjusting to shifts in the marketplace by targeting domestic consumption, diversifying their product offering, and tapping unexploited areas of criminal opportunity.
“Approximately 30 percent of cartels’ drug export revenues come from marijuana,” Mexican security analyst Alejandro Hope told Fusion. “In the long term, Mexican marijuana could be displaced by legal production in the…
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