”Mala hierba (Bad weed), illegal golf and the Guerreros unidos”

I just did a journey throughout the Americas in November, 2015. First stop: The Mexican State of Jalisco at the beautiful Pacific coast. One early morning I tried to buy a local morning paper to my breakfast reading. Impossible: in Puerto Vallarta, a big tourist city, you need to wait until 10 o’clock every morning before you can buy a morning paper in the local store. That’s part of the magic, to be able to speak some Spanish and ask for ”El Mural” or other news papers, instead of reading Swedish mainstream daily ”Dagens Nyheter” online. The solution: you would buy yesterday’s paper which is almost as good, as it always gives you the opportunity to catch up, like ”El Mural, Expresion de Jalisco.” The news on the first page: Golf and country clubs in Mexico now need to send in income and staff details, as well personal information on their golf members to the authorities in order to be taxed properly. Before many of these clubs were considered ”non-profits” and therefore not required to pay tax. All this will now change. Big protest from the sectors that are now hiring tax specialist to protest. Another central issue in El Mural is about threats and ”protection services” by criminal gangs, such as the ”Guerreros Unidos” and ”Los Caballeros Templarios” in the mining region of Guerrero, earning more than 100 000 USD per months from the mining companies. The paper is naming the families involved in these activities, and explaining in detail how the local population and the companies must pay or die. After the news section, I turned to the Op Ed and the columnist Sergio Sarmiento (@SergioSarmiento) who wrote a piece on ”Mala hierba” or Bad Weed. In Spanish it reads ”marihuana”. I read this article, as a social worker, with big interest. Sarmiento explains it all. On 1 meter square, you can produce 5-10 plants marijuana. Every plant will produce approx. 500 g, which would mean 2.5-5 kg/m2. The total production price is 50-200 pesos or 3-12.5 USD. He explains that the price on the street in the US is 204-380 USD per ounce (28g) which means 7 286-13 571 USD per kilo. So, the added value is somewhere between 7000-13 000 USD per kilo, if not more.

After Jalisco I travelled to Chile and then to the US. I finished my trip in the state of Colorado, which just introduced a major social experiment last year by legalizing marijuana. It killed immediately the market from Mexico. Now people are growing the weed inside the State. The city of Denver is going through an economic boom for two main reasons: the manufacturing industry, taking jobs from states like California and the new Weed-business, replacing the illegal weed from Mexico with their own local production. What are the consequences? Anecdotally, I heard that traffic accidents have increased dramatically. New illegal markets have been created, as people now are coming to Colorado in trucks and pick-ups to buy the cheaper weed and to sell it in other states in the US. The state now needs to patrol its borders and to create monitoring and control systems checking cars that are leaving Colorado. The social problems? To early to say, but tens of thousands of people are moving to Colorado for this new life style where the mala hierba now is legal. Mala? Buena? #malahierba #legalweed #socialexperiementcolorado #marijuanamexico

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