Marijuana seizures at the borders dropped significantly in 2022, an implementation shift that solicitors attribute to the legalization movement at the state level. Border marijuana confiscations have dwindled drastically in the last 10 years, from 2million pounds in 2012 to a little more than 150,000 pounds in 2022.
Several factors may possibly explain this, including one being a shift in priorities for the enforcement agencies, though experts deem the trend as reduced demand for smuggled illicit cannabis as more states moved to legalize cannabis. In 2014, maiden recreational marijuana shops were opened in Colorado and Washington, starting a reform currently being implemented in 21 U.S. states for adult-use legalization.
In the initial two months of FY 2023, officers seized 17,000 pounds of cannabis, with their November tally being the lowest amount captured at a little more than 7,000 pounds. Surprisingly, in the same month in 2020, officers arrested individuals for possession of close to 62,000 pounds of marijuana.
Also, aligning with other studies, the reports showed a significant reduction in cannabis seizures at checkpoints since 2016 where there were 70,000 pounds of marijuana seized by the border authorities, in comparison to 31,000 pounds in 2020.
The Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) system of the FBI shows a significant drop in cannabis drug busts at the local and state level even as more states enact reform. However, the validity of FBI’s data has been questioned over the alleged confusion among enforcement agencies on how to report this.
In last year’s report, the Congressional Research Service said that the spread of legal cannabis together with efforts on the international reform side reduced the demand for illicit marijuana specifically from Mexico.
In its budget performance summary for FY 2023 given to Congress, the Drug Enforcement Administration acknowledged that as the production of marijuana goes up in the United States, it is frustrating the trafficking of illicit cannabis across the southern border (Mexico). Research published in 2018 by Cato Institute also discovered that legalizing marijuana at the state level greatly undermined the smuggling of marijuana.
As more and more states vote to legalize cannabis, marijuana cases on the federal front also have been on a downward spiral. This was part of a report released last year by the Sentencing Commission of the United States (USSC). Also, drug-related crimes that were prosecuted federally increased in 2019, but marijuana cases dropped, according to a report released by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts at the end of last year.
As legalization spreads to more states in the coming years, the demand for financing from entities such as REZYFi Inc. is likely to grow as licensed companies work to meet the demand generated in those newly launched cannabis markets.
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