http://www.economist.com/opinion/displaystory.cfm?story_id=706591 This article appears in the 7/28-8/3 issue of The Economist, and sheds much light on the nature of the Drug War, albeit familiar light. I do not yet have a copy of the magazine, and pulled this from the link above, which I found via an article in the current Week Online (#196, 7/27/2001) at www.drcnet.org A friend of mine is relating to me the harrowing tale of her own weekend; having left the big bad city (Seattle) to visit her family in a nearby small town, she was hauled from her car at gunpoint, robbed, and locked in a small shed as four apparent button-men sought the weasel in a drug deal gone bad. I don't have the whole story, yet, but there are two ironic things I would like to note of the Drug War: * In 1996, I spent the afternoon over coffee and joints with a dealer in Oregon whom I hardly knew at all. During the course of the afternoon, he mentioned to me three times that he was going to go over to a client's house and "shoot his big toe off." What for? Eighty bucks. Strange: in the more dedicated (Eugene, Oregon hippy stratum) and urban (Seattle, Washington stoners) markets, I don't encounter violence. It was in the off-market, Salem, that I met my first armed-and-dangerous weed dealer. The current tale my friend relates reinforces my notion that it is unstable markets in smaller demographic groups that are the least sophisticated, the most clumsy, and the most brutal. (This is not reflected in a recent NYC murder of a pot dealer; the cops are calling it drug-related, even though the drugs were left and the cash stolen. Hmm ....) * None of it would happen at all if marijuana and other substances deemed too dangerous for human judgement were legal, and left to human judgement. Such as the toe-shooting idea: eighty bucks--one quarter of an ounce. If it was legal, you'd be shooting someone's toe off for the cost of a pack of cigarettes, maybe two. Say, ten bucks. Let me also note, in reference to that second point, that a recent article at DRCNet puts the federal price tag on a kilogram of heroin, diluted to 40% purity, is worth approximately US$290,000 on the streets. Given that figure, considering the value of cocaine, and bearing in mind that unless the world's governments are messing with the precious metals marijuana costs more than gold .... Considering that drug addicts in this country, in order to get help, must first confess to felonies .... Considering that violence in the drug subculture is tied to two specific factors--poverty and education .... Considering that the effect of the US Drug War has been devastating to women and ethnic minorities .... Considering that it's $40 billion for domestic enforcement (an Economist number that seems low), billions in international enforcement, and a growing military commitment to assaulting South American trade .... Considering that last year, US officials invaded the Oglala in a pot raid .... Considering the militarization of police departments .... I propose we end the American Drug War immediately. It's so bad that we have soldiers in Colombia, screaming diplomats giving the Aussies crap, and law enforcement on both sides of the US-Canadian border pointing fingers at one another while the drugs keep flowing. (I recall a recent MSNBC special on marijuana in which a Canadian law enforcement official offered an embittered thank-you to the marijauna exporters--for the cocaine, heroin, and other things that come in ... anyone who watched the special will easily note that he did not mention the money, the information, the public attention of a great city with great buds: yes, tourists come to check out your buds, people ... it's a lose-lose situation as long as it's illegal. Vancouver had, at one point--and may still--a problem with junkies dying on the street. Legalize and you can prevent random accidental overdoses like that. Most fatal overdoses come from overshooting too pure a product, since nobody expects purity in a black market.) The Drug War must end. It's a human imperative. thank you, Tiassa Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!