Mexico Decries American Dope Smugglers (1923)

Publication Year: 
1923

Images and text retrieved from westword.com on February 22nd, 2015.

Some things don’t change. Like, for example, the flow of “dope” over the Mexican border into the United States as this April 23, 1923 Telluride Daily Journal article illustrates.

Yes, Americans have been wanting to get high and Mexico has been supplying our habits for a century or so. But somehow, it’s always been Mexico’s problem to solve and we’ve always ignored the fact that without the demand here, there wouldn’t be the need for supply from south of the border.

Apparently, the “dope” coming over the border wasn’t pot – it was heroin. And despite all of the promises of the Mexican president, the flow of it wasn’t ever truly stopped. In fact, with American prohibition – it only got worse. The article talks about American bootleggers of liquor who had switched over to importing drugs instead of distilling booze as the profit margins were much, much higher.

Which, sadly, is the same story we have today. Reports show that Mexican cartels have increased the supply of heroin and opiates by facilitating the sales of illegal pharmaceutical pills and actual, cheap heroin. Some, however, blame the legalization of cannabis sales in some states as the reason why cartels have turned to dope again. But if history is any indicator, a downturned southern economy and making alcohol illegal made room for heroin to make inroads.

Just like today, with the economy in some southern states stagnant and a raging prohibition of cannabis keeps the plant illegal. Not to mention the raging pill problem in some states and the crackdown of the federal government on the pill supply that leads a lot of users to harder substances. Instead of addressing the actual issues that cause addiction, the government merely makes it worse and pushes people to harder drugs as an alternative. And with that demand, cartels have found a new way to make money. Pot is too bulky and cheap to turn a profit, so cartels maximize their business by turning an acre of pot fields in to a much more profitable acre of poppies.

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