One of the most important endeavors of the movement to legalize marijuana was to cutoff the source of most of the violent crime associated with cannabis, the smuggling of marijuana into the country by cartels and other organized crime organizations. It is law enforcement attempting to catch and arrest those that would smuggle illegal marijuana into the country and desperate people electing to work with organized crime for the opportunity to make money that leads to brutal battles that harm people and can result in death. It is the worst sort of crime that we all cringe to even think about. Marijuana legalization is successfully curbing the illegal cannabis being smuggled into the country now though.
According to New Frontier Data, the amount of marijuana intercepted at US borders has declined by 66% since 2011. While the amount of marijuana being smuggled into the country has fallen, the amount of states that offer either medical or adult-use marijuana has gone up. 30 states now have some sort of a legal cannabis program. In 2011, authorities intercepted 2.53 million pounds of cannabis at our borders, the vast majority at the Mexican border. In 2017, the amount of illegal cannabis stopped at our borders, whether the southern, northern or coastal borders, was just 861,231 pounds.
Authorities are still working hard to stop the illegal marijuana coming into the country, but what other conclusion could be drawn than the fact the legalization of cannabis has created less work for them? It is not that authorities are excelling at stopping more cannabis from coming into the country, it is that there is simply less marijuana trying to get into the country. Cannabis consumers can now walk into a dispensary and pay something roughly similar to what they would pay on the black market. They do not have to worry about police, are able to pick from a wide variety of marijuana strains and in many states even see a label letting them know the cannabis is clean and the THC to CBD content. How does anyone reasonably choose illegal black market marijuana when they have that choice? The black market is losing its market. Imagine what national legalization of cannabis could do to eliminate more of the black market marijuana crossing our borders.