By Roberta Seldon
If the proposed bill to tax and regulate marijuana in California passes legislation, drug smugglers from south of the border could make the cash-strapped state an offer they won’t want to refuse. For years, Mexico has produced and supplied most of the marijuana consumed in the United States– illegally of course. But now with talks of legalizing marijuana, and with the state of California in such financial ruin, it could only be a matter of time before officials see teaming up with drug traffickers as yet another avenue to boost state revenue.
With tightened border security, drug smugglers are finding new and inventive ways to get their product to market in the U.S. But with California providing an open door, and drug smugglers looking for an easy way in, a relationship may prove to be beneficial for both. In nearby Columbus, New Mexico, that theory has already been proven. Over the past year, the little town, which borders Mexico, has gotten a much-needed jolt to the local economy thanks to an influx of Mexican drug traffickers putting down roots in the area. Homes have sold quickly, oftentimes for cash, and people with no means of legitimate income have multiplied their possessions. Without this jolt, according to local officials, the town might not have otherwise survived. With a median household income of less than $15,000 a year, a four-man police force tarnished by scandal, and apathetic townsfolk, it seems the people of Columbus were all too eager to turn a blind eye to the potentially cumbersome issue plaguing their community.
Such a nonchalant attitude could rub off on Californians as well. With California’s finances in such disarray, Mexican drug traffickers have already taken advantage of the struggling state’s cutbacks in its police departments, with authorities seizing upwards of $4 billion dollars worth of marijuana grown by traffickers in California’s immense state and national parks already this year. That’s far more than the estimated $1.4 billion analysts expect to see generated from legalizing the high-inducing plant. If California wants in on the action, it could definitely provide a nice chunk of change for the state to dole out to its already-struggling educational and healthcare systems and to taxpayers still waiting on those IOUs to clear.
Whether or not the state will be as welcoming to drug traffickers as Columbus has been remains to be seen. But with a deep sense of fear and desperation, and a need to act quickly, state officials could be open to just about anything that would produce some much-needed results.
Posted at Ruse the.magazine.