How Will the Legalization of Marijuana Affect Illegal Drugs in the State of Illinois?

Imagine growing up in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, where the drug cartels are in full force. Every day you wake up worried that you or a loved one may be killed in drug-related violence. As violence escalates among small marijuana farmers, or campesinos, another problem is brewing. With more U.S. states legalizing cannabis, this violence is increasing among drug cartels. Part of the reason this violence is increasing is due to cartels making fewer profits off the sale of marijuana. As marijuana from Mexico is less in demand in the U.S., drug cartels are turning to heroin and methamphetamines.

Marijuana Legalization is on the Rise in the United States

Recreational use of marijuana is legal in Illinois as of January 1, 2020. On May 28, 2019, the Illinois Senate passed a law that legalizes the recreational use of marijuana. The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act authorize the use of cannabis for anyone 21 years old or older. The Illinois law makes possession of 30 grams or less of cannabis legal in the state of Illinois. Colorado, Washington, Maine, Massachusetts, and California have also legalized marijuana, and other state legislatures are considering doing so.

Marijuana Seizures are on the Rise

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection reports that since 2012, marijuana and drug seizures have decreased by half. On the other hand, methamphetamine and heroin seizures have increased. This change coincides with Mexico reporting just under 30,000 murders in 2017. Power struggles within cartels, the splitting up of cartels into smaller groups, and the rise of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel have all contributed to the increase in violence.

A Mexican state prosecutor argues that the closing of some drug routes into the U.S. due to a lack of demand for marijuana has caused violence over the use of other drug routes among cartels. In the heroin-producing Mexican heartland of Guerrero, the morgues are filled to capacity and not able to handle any more bodies due to drug-related violence. The cartels are seeing more demand for heroin. Since several states have legalized marijuana, many illegal marijuana growers are rushing to set up illicit farms on the black market. These growers often set up farms in hidden United States forestry land.

If You Have Been Charged With an Illinois Drug Crime, We are Here to Help You

Even though the use of recreational marijuana is now legal in Illinois, you can still be arrested for driving under the influence of cannabis or possession of marijuana in an amount over the legal limit. With the rise in heroin and meth sales by drug cartels, Illinois might see a surge in the use of those drugs and a corresponding increase in Illinois drug possession arrests.

At Glasgow & Olsson, we vigorously represent people who have been charged with drug-related charges. If you face any drug or marijuana-related drug charges in Cook, Lake, Kane, McHenry, or Dupage county, reach out right away. To contact us, fill out our online form for an initial consultation.

(image courtesy of Dimitri Bang)

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