A man has been detained allegedly trying to smuggle cannabis into Mexico

A man has been arrested after allegedly trying to smuggle 23 kilos of marijuana, worth about £30,000, into Mexico from the United States. Officers from US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) arrested James Williams on October 25th after inspecting his vehicle and discovering the illicit drug. The discovery is unusual as it does not fit in with the usual pattern of drugs being smuggled into the US while high powered weaponry and US dollars are smuggled back into Mexico.

Historically almost all of the cannabis consumed in the US has been imported from Mexico and Colombia. However the trend is changing and now almost half of the cannabis consumed in the US is grown within its borders. The cannabis produced in the US comes from a variety of legal and illicit cultivations. Recently US narcotics experts have expressed concerned about Mexican cartels expanding growing operations into the US.

The US laws on medical marijuana are very ambiguous in the past, although some states have legalised medical marijuana there is no distinction between medical marijuana and recreational marijuana use under federal law. Federal marijuana laws are very strict as cannabis is classified as a schedule 1 drug alongside heroin, LSD and ecstasy and legal consequences for anyone breaching them can be harsh. However the Obama administration has issued fresh guidelines to federal prosecutors. These state that their priority should be to focus on more serious drug-trafficking crimes.

The reason for this individual’s decision to smuggle marijuana into Mexico remain unclear. Recently experts have talked about the changing economics of the drug trade and that US growers are cutting into Mexican cartel profits. Mexico has suffered greatly due to fierce competition between cartels trying to gain control over the trafficking of illicit drugs such as marijuana into the US. The 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health estimated that 14.4 million Americans age 12 and over had used marijuana in the past month. The potential of the this lucrative market might lead to an increase in violence within US borders as the cartels try and keep hold of their share of the profits. Despite this Mexico still produced about 16000000kg of marijuana last year which can fetch up to £12bn on the US illegal market.