With marijuana crop prices dropping as much as 70% in one year, Colombian farmers are looking for a more profitable cash crop to make ends meet. Word is still out on whether we’ll be seeing reports of cartel involvement in widespread avocado smuggling, but those pits are pretty big – we can’t imagine fitting many of them in the usual spot.
Thanks to Colombia’s notoriously tumultuous relationship with drug trafficking, many are seeing this as a positive. With the current legality of avocados, farmers may discover new avenues of distribution that require less cartel involvement (and thus fewer guns in their faces) and more freedom to develop a fair competitive market.
According to the Bloomberg report cited above, prices for pot have plunged from $50 to $15 in a single year due to over-production in the Andean region of Colombia. Though consumers in the United States are still spending billions on cannabis ($2.5b legally), the majority of marijuana produced in Colombia is now consumed on a domestic level, making the local cannabis economy a smaller market and thus particularly susceptible to crashes resulting from excessive production.
A country that just five years ago was cited by CNN as one of Europe’s major marijuana suppliers, and whose history with widespread production dates back to the ‘60s and ‘70s (when they still sent most of it to the US – you know, before cocaine), Colombia has struggled with unnecessary prohibition laws that have only resulted in constant suffering for the working class, increased criminal activity and rampant political corruption. Since Law 30 of 1986 was passed, which essentially prohibited drugs outright, Colombia’s drug laws have faced many challenges in an exhausting back-and-forth history that speaks of its uncertain relationship toward drug manufacturing.
Despite being deeply rooted in various drug trades throughout the years, there’s hope for Colombia in the near future. This shift may have been the result of a practical economic decision, but it could certainly help instill the right attitude towards cannabis in the country. With farmers growing crops that are already recognized as legal, a decrease in criminal control over that production is likely, leading to a loosening of the reflex that is so common with governments that fail to understand the powerful effects of tolerance, knowledge and proper supportwhen dealing with drugs – not just on a policy level, but across the board.
Forecast for 2016: Avocados become illegal in Colombia. “Cado cartels” run rampant, slinging “brownies” (street name, due to their brown outer shell), while independent growers develop chronic hybrid strains boasting crazy levels of omega-3s and that type of fat that’s apparently good for you. Avocados are found to be exceptionally effective at treating rare nerve disorders, especially when combined with the former favorite as “marijuana avocados”. This information is quickly suppressed by the government to protect prohibition efforts. Eventually it all falls apart and everyone just goes back to cocaine wondering what the hell just happened.