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Mexico's Demand For Potent California Marijuana Creates Southbound Smuggling

October 21, 2016 9:58 a.m.

Marijuana has long flowed from Mexico into the U.S. Now, it's starting to flow in the opposite direction.

Related Story: Mexico's Demand For Potent California Marijuana Creates Southbound Smuggling

Transcript:

This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

Marijuana has long flowed from Mexico into the US. It's now starting to flow in the opposite direction, thanks to a demand among Mexicans for potent California strains. Fronteras reporter Jean Guerrero says the initiative to legalize marijuana for recreational use boost southbound smuggling.
I'm being shown around Centro De Integacion Juvenil, the doctor says he's seeing more patients abuse marijuana. Mexicans with visas have access to medical marijuana in California.
They can get it easily and bring it back in small quantities. It's generally for their own consumptions. I don't doubt that they share it with friends.
It's illegal to move marijuana from the US to Mexico. Just as it's illegal from Mexico into the US. It's easier to smuggle southbound. You can drive into Tijuana without ever speaking to eight official -- an official. I recently spoke with some citizens. How did you end up. Lacks
My mother told me I had a problem with drugs and she sent me here.
Antonio has been using ecstasy and coastal must. It started with marijuana. He says he smoked pot from sunrise to sunset. Like many Tijuana residents his go to was California's medical marijuana.
It's better over there he says, Mexican marijuana has 2% concentration of TT, the Jones -- THC the drugs main ingredient. Antonio's mother says California medical marijuana made her son hallucinate. The rehab center confirms our belief. High doses can cause people to experience hallucinations and paranoia.
For a mother, what more can I ask then for my kids to be okay, healthy and be happy.
When it comes to marijuana, Mexico is more conservative than the US. Tusten one third of people are in favor of legalizing marijuana in Mexico compared with within 60% in the US. Earlier this year, the Mexican president says he was open to legalizing marijuana for medical use. The director of Q1 is public rehab center says the president's message spread an increase in marijuana use this year.
It reduces perception of risk or the idea that the substance can cause harm
He says the strong potency leads into paranoid delusions.
It's psychoactive capacity or effect is more damaging.
Another patient, Roderigo says he started hallucinating after smoking marijuana from California.
I thought I was being followed.
He says Mayor one is more expensive in the US but he prefers it.
I have friends in Mexico City, they did not like marijuana. I gave them the marijuana that I use in the US and they like it. It was more powerful.
Roderigo started smoking pot after was legalized in California. He thought it could not be harmful if a state was recognizing the health benefits. He says if it's legal for recreation the temptation and the risk for Tijuana residents will rise. Jean Guerrero KPBS news.