On January 13, Justice in Mexico Director David Shirk was featured on the television show “Real News” during an interview with host Ellison Barber, which he discussed the implications that marijuana legalization in Colorado could have on Mexican criminal organizations.
In the segment called “Cartel profits go up in smoke” Shirk acknowledged that although we still do not have a good sense of the scale of revenues for marijuana sales, the legalization will certainly have an impact on criminal organizations. For one, criminal organizations will likely be forced to diversify their activities to make up for their losses.
Legalization in Colorado could also create and/or exacerbate tension between such groups, potentially resulting in an increase of violence. Nevertheless, it is hard to believe that the kind of elevated and extreme violence Mexico has experienced would spillover into Colorado, since this has not happened so far even along the U.S.-Mexico border, even during the most violent years Mexico has experienced to date.