Someone Is Lying: Latest RAND Reports Disputes Feds’ Longstanding Cartel Claims

A report released today by the RAND Drug Policy Research Center undercuts the longstanding federal government claim that Mexican drug gangs are reaping the bulk of their profits from the exportation of marijuana to the United States.

States RAND, “The claim that 60 percent of Mexican drug trafficking organizations gross drug export revenues comes from marijuana is not credible.”

And just who was the source of this ‘not credible’ statistic? In this case, full credit must go to the nation’s top anti-drug office, the Office of National Drug Control Policy — aka the Drug Czar’s office.

Marijuana big earner for Mexico gangs
via The Associated Press

Posted 2/21/2008 8:55 PM |

MEXICO CITY — Marijuana is now the biggest source of income for Mexico’s drug cartels and the U.S. is committed to cracking down harder on traffickers, U.S. drug czar John Walters said Thursday.

“We’re trying to increase the force with which we’re attacking this problem,” Walters said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. “This is a focus because of the overlooked importance marijuana has in the violence.”

Walters made the comments following a meeting with Mexican officials who want the U.S. to prosecute marijuana cases more zealously to reduce the amount of cash gangs can spend on guns.

… Walters said the U.S. government is seeking additional resources to prosecute traffickers of marijuana, which now earns cartels about $8.5 billion or about 61 percent of their annual estimated income of $13.8 billion. Cocaine sales earn the cartels about $3.9 billion, and methamphetamine about $1 billion, he said.

Today RAND retorts, “Mexican DTOs’ annual gross revenues from illegally exporting marijuana and selling it to wholesalers in the United States are likely less than $2 billion.”

So who should we believe? On the one hand we have the federal government, which consistently lies about marijuana to further their own agenda. On the other hand, we have RAND, which also isn’t above making its own specious claims to further their own agenda — which in this case seems to be opposing California’s Prop. 19.

Ultimately, however, the dueling statistics don’t really matter. Regardless of whether Mexican cartels are reaping 60 percent of their profits from pot or 16 percent, the fundamental principle remains the same: the criminal prohibition of marijuana fuels an underground, unregulated, black market economy that empowers criminal entrepreneurs and jeopardizes the public’s — and the marijuana consumer’s — safety.

If you want to bring control of this market over to regulators, lawmakers, and licensed business, then you support legalization. If you wish to continue to abdicate control of this market to criminal gangs and drug traffickers, then you support prohibition.

The choice is up to you.

46 thoughts

  1. As a Grower I always had a hard time buying into this statistic because of the simple fact that growing marijuana is really not that profitable. The money is in other illegal drugs not marijuana, and especially when it comes to indoor growing

  2. Well said. It is as simple as that. This just further demonstrates the nefariousness of our Federal marijuana policies. This should be a clear indication that we need to allow for the legalization, taxation, and regulation of marijuana in all U.S. states and territories. Proposition 19 will not end the Mexican Drug Cartels, neither will it end the “60%” of their profit. No legitimate, knowledgable person in support of Proposition 19 is claiming it will end the Mexican Drug War. The importance of Proposition 19 is to reduce the Mexican Drug War in California, which it significantly will, but more importantly it will lead to the amelioration of the corrupt laws of marijuana throughout the United States. That is why Proposition 19 is so important. Please, if you already haven’t, vote YES on Prop 19. Help spread the message!

  3. I often wonder what goes on in the minds of those who favor marijuana prohibition. do they ever think about the lives of hard working patriotic Americans that have been ruined over a plant that is a safer alternative to alcohol? Do they stop to think about family members who have or do partake? Are they ignorant and Cruel? I believe they are. You see I once stood in their ranks. It took seeing one of my own Sons life ruined by being put into prison for simple marijuana possession. He will be followed very closely by that criminal record. I no longer lack the intellectual curiosity needed to prevent ignorance.

  4. Is this any suprise? Our government is a twisted lie, so they do as they want.More of this will happen the cloer we get to nov 2. I expected more of this by now. They will twist their “facts” to suit their needs as they always have. Our government needs a serious shake down. Nov 2 could be the start of that.

    They lie about cannabis and most everything else they do in washington…anyone getting the picture? We are being run by criminals.

    Bah! their will still be those who wont see it even if you draw them a picture.

  5. Liers are rarely able to keep their stories straight. That’s one of the ways you can tell they are liers. The people who have turned this once great nation into an Un-Godly, Unconstitutional, police state, are hypocritical, lying cowards. They should be arrested immediatly and thrown into prison for their cruel, counter productive, deadly violent violations of God-given inalienable human rights cited and acknowledged in the Constitution of the United States. How in the hell did American patriots let this get so out of hand? Has anyone ever heard of simply minding your own business, live and let live? If someone is doing or not doing anything that does not harm another, LEAVE THEM THE HELL ALONE!!!

  6. The tides are shifting, the public mind is evolving. My guess: More people would choose peace and prosperity over taxpayer fed, drug warfare – any day. So, go educate! You may be suprised how far we can all go.

  7. #

    Meanwhile back in California ……

    Recreational Marijuana Ordinance Proposed For Humboldt County Marijuana farmers

    [Press release.]

    Graduated Fees Will Encourage Small Farmers and Boost County Income

    The Humboldt Medical Marijuana Advisory Panel (HuMMAP) is proposing commercial cannabis regulations today to the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors. HuMMAP Chair Syreeta Lux says that “This proposal is designed to stabilize our county’s rural economies with a tax policy that encourages families to stay on their land, while increasing county tax yields. Recognizing that a greater number of small farmers contributes more to our county’s economy and culture than fewer large growers can, our proposal also reduces crime and police concerns.”

    HuMMAP proposes that county licensing fees be levied based on mature plant canopy area. They suggest a yearly fee of $200 to be paid for the first 100 square feet of cultivated area per parcel, with graduated fees increasing for larger cultivation areas up to one acre, as in this table:

    100 square feet, annual fee of $200

    200 sq. ft. ” ” ” $500
    300 $800
    400 $1200
    500 $1500
    1000 $3500
    2000 $8000
    3000 $13,000
    4000 $19,000
    5000 $25,000
    10,000 $60,000
    20,000 $140,000
    40,000 $300,000

    HuMMAP also suggests that a plan for responsible water use accompany all permit applications, with a countywide cannabis trade association and/or Supervisorial Task Force working cooperatively to encourage compliance, and to address enforcement and evolving policy issues. Non-compliance would be punishable by civil fines.

    In her statement to Humboldt Supervisors Tuesday, Lux said “As our elected officials, we ask you to pass a resolution to state officials urging them to adopt these or similar standards statewide, in support of the many small rural counties also dependent upon cannabis farming. We also urge you to work with private industry and county agencies to protect our appellation, and to brand values and practices no less than location, so that Humboldt becomes ever more synonymous with healthy and sustainable small-scale agriculture.”

    In return for program compliance, growers would receive an official Humboldt-Grown tax stamp/certificate of provenance affixed to fee-paid production in various unit sizes. Growers smaller than 1000 square feet could receive a distinctive Humboldt Home-Grown certificate. HuMMAP asked that this permitting structure be put in place by March 1^st , 2011.

    # # #

    /The Humboldt Medical Marijuana Advisory Panel is a community-based nonpartisan policy group created to foster comprehensive approaches to legal marijuana policy, integrating health, safety, economic, and regulatory issues in Humboldt County, California and the United States. Formed by a public meeting process, HuMMAP speaks for the interests of legal marijuana growers, patients, caregivers, distributors and support services across Humboldt County. See more at

  8. I expect the lies to grow louder and more frequent coming from the prohibitionists. We here obviously can see this and will call them on it now. Our work is not yet done until the last of us are free to choose what is right for ourselves! Viva La Revolution!

    Do I get 3 guesses?
    Well, humm… its not me, and its not you or you or you.
    I got it! It is the United States of American’s Government employees who lied.
    Nov 2nd, 2010 FIRE THEM ASSHOLES! by voting. Send them damm wayward government employees to the unemployment line and see how it works for them.
    SOMEONE WAS LYING, VOTING helps fix the problem we all face, a wayward government.
    So just VOTE and put this on track to being corrected.
    Vote yes for medical use in those 3 fine states who have it on the ballot, and vote yes in CA for prop 19 and lets send this train down the track to Washington.
    They surely needed to inhale some time ago.

  10. Mr.Armentano
    When you said ” If you wish to continue to abdicate control of this market to criminal gangs and drug traffickers, then you support prohibition.”
    That should be used in an ad campaign.

  11. I really hope the people of Cali get out and vote this Nov. and pass this new deal! I sure would like to see this wake up call. I would love to be able to point to Cali and say “See, it’s LEGAL there. Why not here?”

  12. Sort of makes you wonder what happened to all those “Street Values” law enforcement was always bragging about, doesnt it?? I always wondered where that street happen to be, didn’t you? lol
    Seems like those truth telling god fearing law enforcement lackeys have been padding the figures on what the real values have been. This is hilarious. The US government has told so many lies over and over and over again, that when it finally does start to shake out people are going to realize finally that these people have lied to us and stole our money for the last 80 years. After 80 years of lies and theft their credibility as far as freedom, liberty and justice will be shot all to hell as Amercians start to realize that over 20 million American men, women and children were detained, jailed and mistreated for a safer non-addictive vice than either alcohol or cigarettes.

  13. Who is the biggest liar, the Drug Czar or Rand Corp?

    How about both? If you carefully parse the statements from each, they are not talking about the same thing — DEA’s quoted cartel revenues include both imported and domestically grown cannabis, while Rand Corp revenue figures are for imported cannabis only.

    It is likely at this point in time that the drug cartels are smuggling less marijuana across the border than they are growing in our State and National forests — that would be domestic, not imported marijuana! I suspect the DEA figures are inflated by at least 50%, and Rand figures are underestimated by nearly 50%. Each have an axe to grind, and it’s not the same axe — increasing annual budget versus long term drug policy.

    Someone, perhaps here on NORMLs blog, mentioned that if the War OF Drugs and Prohibition 2.0 were to end, and cannabis was again “legal like beer”, the drug cartels would be largely out of the cannabis business, losing a major portion of their revenues. Who smuggles Corona beer across the border, anyway?

    Just say NOW! and help defund the drug cartels.

  14. Want to know just what the drug cartels look like? Ever wonder just how marijuana is used within the gang society? Watch this great documentary on the 18th street gang, the rival of the notorious MS 13 gang:

    It clearly shows how marijuana is used (among other revenue streams) to fund the gangs. Anyone doubting whether marijuana plays a significant role in funding gangs and cartels need only watch and learn.

  15. …For those unable to sit down and watch the whole thing, go to the second video in the playlist and slide to the 4 minute mark. However this documentary should really be watched in its entirety, it is a true insight into the lives of those using marijuana to fund violence and crime.

  16. The thought of my son getting butt raped and aids in prison over weed and just weed so that some fat beer drinking anti weed top cop or senator can stay in public view makes me want to VOTE EM OUTA THERE JOB but in the meg VS brown IDK i a Republican but im not blind both lie both are anti prop 19 what to do what to do

  17. Well i fide it a good articl its still preaching to the chore. It is true you can not belive any anti gov. or person on cannabis. If yall been following the so call falcon liak shooting. I belive the hub and wife was in vole in drug running or is a insurnc scam

  18. If there wasn’t so many lives ruined over this house plant this new revelation that Rand has supposedly “uncovered” would be comical. One can only imagine what additional garbage is going to be released on everyone before Nov. 2.

  19. James A. Thomson, RAND Corporation’s president and chief executive officer since 1989 is also a director of Encysive Pharmaceuticals, which, in 2008, was acquired by -32 billion dollar per year- Pfizer.

    RAND Corporation – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Encysive Pharmaceuticals – Company Profile | LinkedIn

    Pfizer | Medical Marijuana Blog

    FYI,just in case any of the conspiracy theorist need a connection of possible pharmaceutical company involvement in keeping marijuana prohibited.

  20. who wants to smoke mexican bunkweed
    nobody-taste like dogshite,no one could sell that shite.but don’t tell me there is no money being made
    in the usa,grown in,out ,under.its called medicine,cali here we come!

  21. @8

    I wonder who tossed the first stone?

    Somewhere it is common practice human acts of such complete desolution

    YES ON Proposition 19

    YES Freedom

    YES 19

    When you wonder about Freedom, consider “your” Place, is this your Legacy To The Stars?

    What Do You Want To Bring To Eternity?

  22. Crime’s againat humanity fuel violent criminals and make tax payers non-violent criminals. All I got from the article, they want and fuel criminals who are wreaking havok on society because the criminal loop hole of prohibition. Letting people evade paying taxes while wasting taxes to go after them. Makes alot of since right? I think not, these propganda illusions the government has created are illogical and hipocritical. People are starving while we waste money to prevent the same people from enjoying what MAN has done from the start, getting high isn’t a crime the law is.

  23. This report included California as by itself. If ONLY California makes marijuana legal then it will NOT hurt the Cartels all that much, because they still have the entire USA to sell too. If the entire USA joins in once PROP 19 passes—then make no doubt about it—The Cartels would then be hurting in a bad way. California alone????? Nope—won’t hurt them much. Entire USA—they are hurting badly.

    [Paul Armentano responds: The RAND report specifically said that legalization would ‘effectively eliminate’ the involvement of Mexican criminal enterprises in the marijuana trade in California. NORML issued a press release highlighting this fact, which you can find under our weekly news releases.]

  24. Its 2010. Get with the times. All of America needs to grow up and take some responsibility. Legalize is the way to go. Cash crop, offer new jobs. Its time pot gets a new image. Like apple in the 90’s, buds haven’t had a good name in the past. Time to change. Black man in office, Mexican with his green card, women have rights (for a while now), buds need to now be accepted. Shi_t, Microsoft is supposedly changing the gaming phone industry. Wake up society, embrace it welcome it and capitalize on that. (scholarship funds, donations, hemp recycling, so many things to do with hemp/buds)

  25. Imagine a world, filled with drug cops, welcome to HELL, welcome to planet Earth, The Blue watery planet.

    The question and answer remain

    Proposition 19 Stands in complete defiance. to all those un charters, The Governed Demand Justice

    Else ‘we light the fires and prepare the guillotine

    19 YES

  26. I read the Rand Report this morning.

    Despite their attempts to ferret out the implications of the passage of Prop 19 and its impact on the drug cartels, the report itself states explicitly what is clear to the reader of their study:

    “What are the potential effects of marijuana legalization? And what can the United States do to help reduce the violence in Mexico?…Both of these issues are complex, and much of the data needed to address them do not exist or are of poor quality.”

    In other words, who knows?

    The projections of what will or could happen needs to be tempered with the present reality. What is happening now, the staus quo, is unsatisfactory. We’re ready for a change. As goes California, so goes the nation.

    Words of wisdom from NORML, “the fundamental principle remains the same: the criminal prohibition of marijuana fuels an underground, unregulated, black market economy that empowers criminal entrepreneurs and jeopardizes the public’s — and the marijuana consumer’s — safety.”

    My opinion, the Walters/cartel marijuana release by Walters was government propaganda that backfired and actually ended up being another primo argument for ending prohibition. Even George Will agreed that marijuana legalization would hurt the cartels. And it will buth the issue is no one can say how much.

  27. Mr. Armentano or Mr. St. Pierre,
    I am in a debate and could use your help. How to I respond to someone who says that the fed will cut funding to Cali once prop 19 passes.
    – If you are too busy to answer more than understandable

    Keep up the amazing work. You will go down in history as heroes!

    [Paul Armentano: Simple. It won’t, just as the legality of medical marijuana in California — which is presently used by hundreds of thousands of Californians, many of whom are gainfully employed — has not caused the state to lose one single federal grant in 14 years.]

  28. @ 39

    re: no one can say how much

    Ask the children, who now live without parents, ask the people who are in modern mans prisons for using cannabis,

  29. Illegalization benefits the Justice Dept. top to bottom. Just follow the money. They don’t give a big rats ass who gets stoned as long as they can make money off it.

Leave a Reply