Cartels Ditch Pot and Opium Fields for Synthetic Drugs, Mexico Defense Secretary Says

High Times

As the wholesale price-per-pound of legal cannabis plummets in some states bordering Mexico, cartels in the country are shifting to more lucrative drugs: fentanyl and other synthetic drugs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced this week that fentanyl is now the leading cause of death for Americans ages 18-45, thanks in part to criminal involvement in multiple countries. Texas is the only state bordering Mexico without adult-use cannabis, and it shows in the prices. Mexico’s cartels once relied on organic farms of poppies and cannabis to produce drugs, but the times have changed. Illicit cannabis eradication in Mexico was slashed in half in recent years—aligning with the timeline of pot legalization up north. Mexico’s Secretary of Defense, General Luis Cresencio Sandoval said that for cartels, cannabis and other organic drugs like opium-rich poppies are out, and fentanyl is in.  The Associated Press reports that according to Sandoval, seizures of fentanyl soared 525 percent during the first three years of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s reign, who took office December 1, 2018, compared to the previous three years.  During that time period, law enforcement agents seized 1,232 pounds (559 kilograms) of fentanyl in 2016-2018 and 7,710 pounds (3,497 kilograms) in 2019-2021.   The reason for the switch is that the bottom line improves when cartel operations shift from organic opiate to synthetic opioids, which are cheaper to produce. “There was a change in consumption, there was a change in drug markets due to the ease of producing synthetic drugs,” Sandoval said. Cartels no longer have to pay for manpower to grow poppies and slowly scrape the opium that oozes from the poppy bulbs. The same could be said about the growing/trimming/curing process for cannabis. But the synthetic drugs don’t originate from Mexico. Mexican cartels can order fentanyl online…

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Source : Cartels Ditch Pot and Opium Fields for Synthetic Drugs, Mexico Defense Secretary Says

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