Los Angeles Times

Mexico debates legalization as exports plummet and crime rises

MEXICO CITY - For decades, marijuana flowed in one direction across the U.S.-Mexico border: north.

These days, drug enforcement agents regularly seize specialty strains of retail-quality cannabis grown in the United States being smuggled south.

Widespread legalization in the U.S. is killing Mexico's marijuana business, and cartel leaders know it. They are increasingly abandoning the crop that was once was their bread and butter and looking elsewhere for profits, producing and exporting drugs including heroin and fentanyl and banking on extortion schemes and fuel theft.

So when Mexico's tourism secretary this week boldly declared his hopes that Mexico will legalize marijuana for recreational use in

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