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The face of marijuana cultivation in Mexico is changing as more and more independent, boutique cannabis growers are popping up, providing high-quality “ethical” strains of weed free of cartel violence and influence, according to a report by Vice Media.

There are a number of factors at play in this new dynamic, including the availability of specialized seeds from the United States and Europe, the possibility of legalization within the country by the end of the year and a decline in demand for mass-produced weed due to legalization in the U.S.  

But there is also a growing social consciousness among consumers that these small independent growers are banking on, marketing potent strains such as Chronic, Purple and Blue Dreams as “blood-free” weed, write Deborah Bonello and Miguel Angel Vega.

There is no cartel middleman in this emerging ethical cannabis market, with growers selling directly to dealers. 

Farmers in states such as Sinaloa have switched from large, outdoor crops to carefully tended indoor operations, using lights, fertilizers and fans to allow the plants to mature under optimal circumstances. They are also dabbling in producing oils, edibles and other companion products as customers look for innovation in forms of THC delivery.

Although this kind of production incurs significantly higher costs, there’s no profit-sharing with cartel enforcers and profit margins are significantly higher. Whereas weed growers used to get around US $25 per kilo, dealers are now buying top-level cannabis at a price that varies from US $1,278 to $1,700 per half kilo.

However, by eschewing cartels pot growers face a number of challenges. Creating their own infrastructure for transporting their crops to dealers is one problem; operating under the radar of violent cartels is quite another.

“You’re not benefiting from any cartel protection structures or mechanism,” Jaime López, a security analyst, told Vice. “As long as you stay small and not too flashy you might avoid the vultures. But that’s a big if.”

And with a vote looming in the Senate (postponed until May 30 due to the coronavirus lockdown) on the legalization of marijuana, whether small, ethical marijuana cultivators will be able to hold their own in a larger, commercial market remains to be seen.

For now, however, blood-free weed seems to have found its niche market.

Source: VICE (en)

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