Marijuana grown in Mexico and sold in Houston and other Texas cities still goes for about the same price as 25 years ago: $60 to $80 for an ounce, says the Houston Chronicle. “I guarantee you it is probably cheaper than it was back in the day,” said Lt. Gray Smith of the Houston police narcotics division. “Since I’ve been in the dope business, it has been pretty much the same,” he said of prices during 20 years of monitoring sales. “I don’t care if you put 10 Marine divisions along the Mexican border, you are never going to be able to stop the movement of drugs, marijuana, across the border,” said Mike Vigil, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s former chief of international operations.
The dried, greenish-brown plant remains the most-used illicit drug in the U.S., says the National Institute on Drug Abuse. An estimated 97 million Americans age 12 or older have smoked marijuana, according to the 2006 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Among schoolkids, it is considered the leading drug problem after alcohol. “The efforts to stop the flow of marijuana – despite cost and manpower involved – have failed,” said Bruce Bagley, who studies illegal drugs for the University of Miami. “There is a surplus and an abundance of marijuana flowing into the United States.” DEA spokesman Steve Robertson said low marijuana prices don’t signal defeat. “Every time we seize an amount of marijuana, no matter how small or large, that is a blow against these criminal organizations, and that deprives the organization of money. It is also one less opportunity for somebody to mess up their lives,” he said.