Marijuana legalization leads to safer borders, reduction in smuggling

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Marijuana is helping to protect U.S. borders

Marijuana opponents have yet another argument they can scratch off their list as they try to prevent further legalization. A recent study conducted by the Cato Institute shows that, contrary to some opinions, legalizing marijuana is actually making borders safer and lowering the amount of smuggling seen coming into the U.S.

According to an immigration policy analyst with Cato, David Bier, “State-level marijuana legalization has significantly undercut marijuana smuggling. Based on Border Patrol seizures, smuggling has fallen 78 percent over just a five-year period. Because marijuana was the primary drug smuggled between ports of entry, where Border Patrol surveils, the value of the agency’s seizures overall — on a per-agent basis — has declined 70 percent.”

In 2012, Washington and Colorado became the first two states to legalize marijuana. They legalized sales two years later and set the stage for a number of states to follow suit. Ten states now offer legal marijuana and more than a couple will more than likely approve legislation next year or in 2020.

Bier also points out, “Just as legalization of marijuana has helped secure the border against the illicit entry of marijuana, making it easier for immigrant workers to live and work legally in the United States has reduced the incentive of would-be illegal immigrants to cross the border. Over the last 70 years, the number of work visas is negatively correlated with illegal entries along the border.”

It’s possible that a federal reversal of marijuana prohibition could have an even more pronounced effect on smuggling and border safety. As 2019 is quickly approaching, the year is going to bring with it some substantial changes that are going to show how beneficial marijuana is on a number of different levels.