According to a new report by The ArcView Group, a cannabis industry investment and research firm based in California, legal marijuana sales rocketed 74 percent in 2014 to a new high of $2.7 billion.
And with more states legalizing weed — Alaska, Oregon and Washington, D.C., voted to join the legal stoners in November — it predicts this growth pace could continue for several more years straight.
However, winners in some places often mean losers in others. And the losers appear to be south of the Rio Grande: Mexican marijuana growers, who’ve provided the lion’s share of cannabis for American smokers for decades.
Bloomberg – Half a dozen auto factories have sprung up or been announced for central Mexico’s industrial belt in the past five years, contributing to a nationwide $20 billion investment by global automakers eager to establish ready access to the U.S. market.
Mexican vehicle exports are expected to rise to a record 2.9 million in 2015, with more than 70 percent of the cars and light trucks headed to the U.S.
Mexican coffee farmers suffered one of their bleakest seasons ever last year as a virulent fungus devastated the crop, stripping down trees to disease-ridden skeletons, starved of sunlight.
Now, another tree is helping to lift the gloom.
Once wedded to arabica coffee trees, many hard-scrabble farmers in Mexico’s tropical east coast are switching to robusta despite its lower value, in part because it can better withstand the fungus known as roya, or leaf rust.
A severe roya outbreak has shattered arabica output in Mexico and Central America over the past two years, destroying thousands of jobs and encouraging a shift toward hardier trees.
“Right now, because of roya, the whole world wants robusta,” said Juan Lopez, a coffee farmer with a 1-hectare plot near Cuichapa in the eastern coffee-producing state of Veracruz, who is among those making the transition to robusta.
AP – Three villages in the Filo Mayor mountains in Guerrero are growing opium poppies that are feeding a growing addiction in the U.S., where heroin use has spread from back alleys to the cul-de-sacs of suburbia.
National Geographic – Mexico City’s Galaxia subdivision was built in an era when the middle class aspiration was to own a certain type of single family house with room for a car. But as times and needs change, so does the city, morphing into a new landscape that reflects modern needs.
The Guardian – Uriel Alonso Solís is an affable 19-year-old, the oldest of five children from a poor campesino family. But his grittiness shows through as he recounts the terrible night his college friends – four of whom he grew up with – were seized and hauled off to face a brutal fate that still reverberates across Mexican society.
WSJ – The U.S. and Mexico are increasingly competing for a dwindling supply of farm labor, according to a new analysis, a development that likely will have long-term implications for the U.S. agricultural sector.
Petroleos Mexicanos’ pledge to protect its 153,000-strong workforce from cuts ahead of the opening of Mexico’s oil industry is cold comfort for Daniel Aquino.
Until earlier this month, Aquino was a drill rig welder for contractor GSP Offshore. Now the father of two waits for work along with hundreds of others in a gated plaza in the island city of Ciudad del Carmen after Pemex eliminated outsourcing jobs.
Aquino is one of several thousand contract workers estimated by the city’s business chamber to have lost their jobs as Pemex seeks $2 billion to $3 billion in savings this year on purchases and contract rates.
The port city’s unemployed oilmen are in limbo as Pemex prepares to end its seven-decade monopoly just as global crude prices crash, in an industry overhaul that the government said would generate 1.5 million jobs by 2018.
“The energy reform is a lie,” Aquino said from Ciudad del Carmen, where service companies Halliburton Co. and Seadrill Ltd. have operations. “I’m going to keep looking for work here on the island but at this point Pemex has cut all the contracts with service providers and there are more cuts to come.”
Daily Mail – The Juarez Valley on the Mexico-Texas border, a forty mile stretch of cotton fields and ghost towns, is so dangerous that even the police don’t dare to enter.
Today the Juarez Valley, which runs along the Rio Grande and is just a stone’s throw from the eighteen-foot fence on the US border, sees more death and violence than anywhere else in North America. It has even been suggested that it could be the deadliest place on Earth.