I love Mexico. When I lived in San Diego back in the early 1980s, I often went to Tijuana, Tecate or Ensenada with friends. It was our go-to spot when funds were low (as they often were).
Back then, you could get some great tacos and a few rounds of Pacifico beers for $10 or less. Good weed (I say that speaking relatively) was also cheap. We’d buy marijuana with names like Acapulco Gold, Oaxacan Spears and Sinaloan Green for about $10 an ounce. It was nowhere near the potency of today’s indoor-grown legal weed, but it got the job done. A big joint of Mexican weed combined with a few local beers and some good friends on a relatively deserted Baja beach was a simple, youthful pleasure I can remember as if it were yesterday.
If I were to guess, I’d say I’ve probably been to Mexico more than 50 times, all told. These days, it’s the Cabo area I like to visit. Southern Baja is incredibly beautiful, and the flora and fauna of the desert have always been fascinating to me. My most recent trip down was in early May. The weather was hot and sunny, and the water at the tip of southern Baja was already in the mid-70s. One of my favorite hobbies these days is saltwater fly fishing, and I often fish with a local panga owner by the name of Carlos (not his real name). I’ve gone out with Carlos numerous times over the years and with varying success. Sometimes it’s great, sometimes it’s slow (that’s fishing!). Dorado and rooster fish are my usual targets, and the most recent trip was better than average. Four roosters and two big Pacific crevalle jacks caught — and released — on my 9-weight rod in about four hours of fishing.
On this particular day, Carlos and I got onto the subject of marijuana. Carlos loves his weed, and when I asked him what local weed was like he produced a baggie with what looked like a quarter-ounce of flower. He then handed me a big bud. While it looked okay, it was obviously not of the quality you’d find in a legal pot shop in any rec state in the U.S. I could see some seeds in his baggie, and although the bud he handed me didn’t have any, it was not nearly as well manicured — or fragrant — as the top-shelf flower I usually see when inspecting samples grown here in the U.S. According to Carlos, the quarter–ounce was 220 pesos, or about $10 U.S. Even though the flower wasn’t up to legal U.S. pot shop quality, it still seemed like a relatively good deal.
However, what really got my attention was when Carlos told me he had a friend who regularly drives to California to buy cannabis from state-licensed dispensaries. According to Carlos, his friend buys a couple pounds, carefully stashes it in a spare tire, and then drives it all the way from San Diego to Cabo — about 800 miles — to resell it to “the surfers” who like the higher quality U.S. stuff and will pay $15 to $20 per gram.
I had to smile. Who would’ve guessed 30 years ago that smugglers would one day be driving weed into Mexico from the United States to sell at a big profit? You’ve gotta love ingenuity and the ever-present pursuit of profits!