In Mexico, Opium now is a bigger cash crop than marijuana

Mexican soldiers destroy plants in a poppy field. (AP)
Mexican soldiers destroy plants in a poppy field. (AP)

By Sylvia Longmire / Breitbart News

The plants growing along an increasing number of Mexican hillsides reflect trends in illegal drug use in the United States. While marijuana fields easily outnumbered poppy plantations in prime Mexican growing regions, both government and international-agency statistics show those numbers have reversed as Mexican-origin heroin use in the US has exploded.

According to the Mexican daily Reforma, the leading marijuana production states in Mexico are Chihuahua, Guerrero, Jalisco, Durango, Sinaloa and Oaxaca. Between 2007-2010, the Mexican army discovered 432,561 marijuana fields in these areas.

But that number plummeted by 56 percent between 2011-2014, as soldiers only found 187,056 marijuana plantations during that time frame. Mexico’s military department known as SEDENA indicated that opium poppies have been replacing marijuana plants in these states.

Shifts in illegal drug production by Mexican cartels tend to occur rather quickly in response to changes in demand from the US market. Unlike cocaine, which has to be brought into Mexico from other countries, heroin and marijuana can both be grown and processed internally. This allows cartels to dictate to their growers what kinds of plants they need to grow and in what quantities.

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