How Bad Are the Drugs in Cancún? The Truth Revealed


When you’re planning a trip to a city you’re not familiar with, it’s always good to make sure that it is safe. That’s why if you’re traveling to Cancún you’ll want to read up on where the drug crime is the worst. So how bad are the drugs in Cancún and is it a safe destination for your next big vacation? 

There has recently been a spike in drug-related crime around Cancún, however, it’s crime rate is still far lower than that of other cities in Mexico. At the same time, possession of small amounts of various substances is legal in the city and not uncommon to run into. 

If you’re curious about whether or not Cancún has a serious drug problem, this is the place for you. In the sections below we will discuss whether cartels operate out of Cancún, what drugs are legal in the area and how all of this affects the crime rate. Don’t go on your next vacation unprepared. Come along and let’s fill you in on all the important details!

Are There Cartels in Cancún? 

Where there are drugs, there are also usually gangs to sell them. If you’re concerned about your trip to Cancún–specifically the drug problems you may encounter–you’ll want to know whether there are cartels that operate in the area and how prevalent they are. So, are there cartels in Cancún?

There are cartels that operate around Cancún. In fact, relatively recently the areas around Cancún have been subject to a spike in cartel activity that has led to military deployment. 

This isn’t necessarily to say that Cancún’s drug problem is the worst in the country, but that it is there and definitely does exist. With careful planning, you can avoid the areas where it is worst and enjoy a less stressful vacation. 

For a more in-depth explanation of the Cartel’s presence in Cancún’s resorts, check out our blog post on this topic here.

Are Drugs Legal in Cancún?

The legality of drugs in an area plays a huge role in how the drug trade operates. That’s why you’ll also want to know whether or not drugs are legal in Cancún and if so which ones are. 

Below we’ve broken down some of the most common drugs and their legal status in Cancún:

  • Marijuana: While selling and distributing marijuana is still illegal–soon that may change, however–you can legally possess up to 5 grams. The shaky ground in the legality–in that you can have it but can’t sell it–has made it a more popular drug to find in the area. 
  • Opiates/opioids: Many opiates and opioids are also legal to possess within Cancún. Opium itself can be possessed in up to 2gr. Opiates/opioids like heroin and morphine on the other hand can only be possessed in up to 50mgs. 
  • Speed/Uppers: In Cancún uppers like amphetamines and cocaine can be possessed legally in small amounts. For example, methamphetamine can be possessed for up to 40 mg while cocaine can be possessed at up to 500mgs. Additionally, MDA and MDMA can be possessed up to 40 mgs as well. 
  • Psychedelics: The final category of drug we’ll explore is psychedelics. Small amounts of mushrooms and 0.015 mg of LSD are legal to possess. 

Most of the drugs on this list were made legal to possess in the landmark 2009 decision to take another approach to drug control. 

Does Cancún Have a High Crime Rate

The crime rate alone can sometimes be enough to let you know how bad the drug problem is in a certain area. Unfortunately, drugs and crime go hand in hand. Whether it’s the petty crimes of those suffering from addiction, needing their next fix, or the gangs that pedal the substances. So, does Cancún have a high crime rate?

Fortunately, the crime rate in Cancún is relatively low when compared to the crime rate in other areas of Mexico. Still, the recent spikes in drug crimes we mentioned before shows that like when visiting any other city, you should still take some precautions.   

So Really, How Bad Are the Drugs in Cancún?

The drug problem in Cancún is bad enough that you should at least be aware of it. Particularly because of the recent spikes in crime people have experienced around the area. That said, drugs are legal to possess but illegal to sell without the proper certifications. Therefore, if you see someone offering something it’s best to just move on. 

With all this, Cancún is still a beautiful city full of enchanting sites to explore. While there has been a recent spike in cartel-related crime, the crime rate in Cancún is still lower than that of comparable Mexican cities. With the proper planning, you should still be able to take a safe, memorable trip there.

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