“Lo que venga del gringo es lo mejor, es la mas pura,” a junkie in the Tijuana River channel area told me when I recently asked him about his drugs of choice. He was a heroin user and an occasional meth user because many times his heroin was mixed with it.
According to the guy, a heroin dose in Mexico costs two dollars, but that's for the drug that never crosses the border. For drugs that come from the United States, the price is at least four times that. The deported junkie told me his drug habit started when he lived in California and that it is very difficult to find the same quality in Mexico.
I easily found a drug dealer in the back room of a coffee shop who deals mostly marijuana and cocaine, his own drugs of choice. He comes from Oaxaca and does not have papers to cross to the United States
“La mota del gringo la vendo como pan caliente,” he said, disclosing that pot grown in the U.S. sells in Tijuana like hot bread. “Medical marijuana," he said, is way easier to sell. “I can get rid of an ounce in a matter of hours and people pay the right price.” He then implored me to get in contact with medical marijuana patients that are willing to sell.
Mexican marijuana sells for a quarter of the price but for triple the amount of U.S.-grown weed, so its riskier to carry and not worth it to sell.
Marijuana in Mexico is highly illegal and punishment for possession is virtually the same as it is for hard drugs. The “Vive Sin Drogas” ("live without drugs") anti-drug ad campaigns of the ’90s convinced most families in Mexico that by smoking a joint people become violent drug addicts willing to do anything for more.
The drug dealer told me his mom sent him to a rehab center for smoking too much pot. Once in the rehab center, he heard the stories of people who were alcoholics and hard-drug users; when it was his turn to speak, out of shame, the dealer made up a story that he was addicted to drugs harder than pot.
After a few phone calls, the dealer got the news he was waiting for. An ounce of “OG Kush” from a medical dispensary was going to be delivered to him for $250 in Tijuana. I rode in the car with him. When we arrived at the location, I waited in the car while he went inside apartments that are located a couple miles away from Zona Norte (where most drug deals occur). It took him more than 30 minutes. I became nervous as I saw people walk in and out of the apartment complex.
He finally came out and we headed to a bar in downtown. He greeted the bouncer and we headed to the back office, where he showed his prize and the extra gift he got.
“His cousins from L.A. came over and brought him the purest cocaine I have seen,” the dealer told me before offering some to me and the people in the back office. I do not partake. The dealer said, “this is just to get started.” Then he revealed the ounce of OG Kush and took out an apple to use as a pipe. He packed it and passed it around. He said he sells a gram for $15, a higher price than most dispensaries in California and more than eight times the price of Mexican marijuana.