Reefer Madness
Did Legal Weed Cause the Heroin Epidemic?

One of the arguments for marijuana legalization was that it would take market share away from drug kingpins and turn the weed business over to responsible government bureaucrats. According to a bracing Esquire report by Don Winslow, that argument has been vindicated, but with a twist—the Mexican drug cartels responded to the shock by pushing greater quantities of an even more potent poison:

Okay, I’m going to say it: The heroin epidemic was caused by the legalization of marijuana.

We wanted legal weed, and for the most part, we got it. Four states have legalized it outright, others have decriminalized it, and in many jurisdictions police refuse to enforce the laws that are on the books, creating a de facto street legalization.

Good news, right?

Not for the Sinaloa Cartel, which by the time Colorado passed Amendment 64 in 2012 had become the dominant cartel in Mexico. Weed was a major profit center for them, but suddenly they couldn’t compete against a superior American product that also had drastically lower transportation and security costs.

Winslow’s argument is not the last word on the subject, and there are alternate explanations for America’s rising scourge of opioid abuse. But he makes a compelling case—one that voters ought to consider before November, when a handful of states are holding referenda marijuana decriminalization.

Read the whole thing.

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