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We live in a time of change, when people are questioning old assumptions and seeking new directions. In the ongoing debate over health care, social justice, and border security, there is, however, one overlooked issue that should be at the top of everyone’s agenda, from Democratic Socialists to libertarian Republicans: America’s longest war. No, not the one in Afghanistan. I mean the drug war.

For more than a century, the U.S. has worked through the U.N. (and its predecessor, the League of Nations) to build a harsh global drug prohibition regime — grounded in draconian laws, enforced by pervasive policing, and punished with mass incarceration. For the past half-century, the U.S. has also waged its own “war on drugs” that has complicated its foreign policy, compromised its electoral democracy, and contributed to social inequality. Perhaps the time has finally come to assess the damage that drug war has caused and consider alternatives.

Even though I first made my mark with a 1972 book that the CIA tried to suppress on the heroin trade in Southeast Asia, it’s taken me most of my life to grasp all the complex ways this country’s drug war, from Afghanistan to Colombia, the Mexican border to inner-city Chicago, has shaped American society. Last summer, a French director doing a documentary interviewed me for seven hours about the history of illicit narcotics. As we moved from the seventeenth century to the present and from Asia to America, I found myself trying to answer the same relentless question: What had 50 years of observation actually drilled into me, beyond some random facts, about the character of the illicit traffic in drugs?

At the broadest level, the past half-century turns out to have taught me that drugs aren’t just drugs, drug dealers aren’t just “pushers,” and drug users aren’t just “junkies” (that is, outcasts of no consequence). Illicit drugs are major global commodities that continue to influence U.S. politics, both national and international. And our drug wars create profitable covert netherworlds in which those very drugs flourish and become even more profitable. Indeed, the U.N. once estimated that the transnational traffic, which supplied drugs to 4.2% of the world’s adult population, was a $400 billion industry, the equivalent of 8% of global trade.

In ways that few seem to understand, illicit drugs have had a profound influence on modern America, shaping our international politics, national elections, and domestic social relations. Yet a feeling that illicit drugs belong to a marginalized demimonde has made U.S. drug policy the sole property of law enforcement and not health care, education, or urban development.

During this process of reflection, I’ve returned to three conversations I had back in 1971 when I was a 26-year-old graduate student researching that first book of mine, The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade. In the course of an 18-month odyssey around the globe, I met three men, deeply involved in the drug wars, whose words I was then too young to fully absorb.

The first was Lucien Conein, a “legendary” CIA operative whose covert career ranged from parachuting into North Vietnam in 1945 to train communist guerrillas with Ho Chi Minh to organizing the CIA coup that killed South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem in 1963. In the course of our interview at his modest home near CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, he laid out just how the Agency’s operatives, like so many Corsican gangsters, practiced the “clandestine arts” of conducting complex operations beyond the bounds of civil society and how such “arts” were, in fact, the heart and soul of both covert operations and the drug trade.

Second came Colonel Roger Trinquier, whose life in a French drug netherworld extended from commanding paratroopers in the opium-growing highlands of Vietnam during the First Indochina War of the early 1950s to serving as deputy to General Jacques Massu in his campaign of murder and torture in the Battle of Algiers in 1957. During an interview in his elegant Paris apartment, Trinquier explained how he helped fund his own paratroop operations through Indochina’s illicit opium traffic. Emerging from that interview, I felt almost overwhelmed by the aura of Nietzschean omnipotence that Trinquier had clearly gained from his many years in this shadowy realm of drugs and death.

My last mentor on the subject of drugs was Tom Tripodi, a covert operative who had trained Cuban exiles in Florida for the CIA’s 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion and then, in the late 1970s, penetrated mafia networks in Sicily for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. In 1971, he appeared at my front door in New Haven, Connecticut, identified himself as a senior agent for the Treasury Department’s Bureau of Narcotics, and insisted that the Bureau was worried about my future book. Rather tentatively, I showed him just a few draft pages of my manuscript for The Politics of Heroin and he promptly offered to help me make it as accurate as possible. During later visits, I would hand him chapters and he would sit in a rocking chair, shirt sleeves rolled up, revolver in his shoulder holster, scribbling corrections and telling remarkable stories about the drug trade — like the time his Bureau found that French intelligence was protecting the Corsican syndicates smuggling heroin into New York City. Far more important, though, through him I grasped how ad hoc alliances between criminal traffickers and the CIA regularly helped both the Agency and the drug trade prosper.

Looking back, I can now see how those veteran operatives were each describing to me a clandestine political domain, a covert netherworld in which government agents, military men, and drug traders were freed from the shackles of civil society and empowered to form secret armies, overthrow governments, and even, perhaps, kill a foreign president.

At its core, this netherworld was then and remains today an invisible political realm inhabited by criminal actors and practitioners of Conein’s “clandestine arts.” Offering some sense of the scale of this social milieu, in 1997 the United Nations reported that transnational crime syndicates had 3.3 million members worldwide who trafficked in drugs, arms, humans, and endangered species. Meanwhile, during the Cold War, all the major powers — Britain, France, the Soviet Union, and the United States — deployed expanded clandestine services worldwide, making covert operations a central facet of geopolitical power. The end of the Cold War has in no way changed this reality.

For over a century now, states and empires have used their expanding powers for moral prohibition campaigns that have periodically transformed alcohol, gambling, tobacco, and, above all, drugs into an illicit commerce that generates sufficient cash to sustain covert netherworlds.

Drugs and U.S. Foreign Policy

The influence of illicit drugs on U.S. foreign policy was evident between 1979 and 2019 in the abysmal failure of its never-ending wars in Afghanistan. Over a period of 40 years, two U.S. interventions there fostered all the conditions for just such a covert netherworld. While mobilizing Islamic fundamentalists to fight the Soviet occupation of that country in the 1980s, the CIA tolerated opium trafficking by its Afghan mujahedeen allies, while arming them for a guerrilla war that would ravage the countryside, destroying conventional agriculture and herding.

In the decade after superpower intervention ended in 1989, a devastating civil war and then Taliban rule only increased the country’s dependence upon drugs, raising opium production from 250 tons in 1979 to 4,600 tons by 1999. This 20-fold increase transformed Afghanistan from a diverse agricultural economy into a country with the world’s first opium monocrop — that is, a land thoroughly dependent on illicit drugs for exports, employment, and taxes. Demonstrating that dependence, in 2000 when the Taliban banned opium in a bid for diplomatic recognition and cut production to just 185 tons, the rural economy imploded and their regime collapsed as the first U.S. bombs fell in October 2001.

To say the least, the U.S. invasion and occupation of 2001-2002 failed to effectively deal with the drug situation in the country. As a start, to capture the Taliban-controlled capital, Kabul, the CIA had mobilized Northern Alliance leaders who had long dominated the drug trade in northeast Afghanistan, as well as Pashtun warlords active as drug smugglers in the southeastern part of the country. In the process, they created a post-war politics ideal for the expansion of opium cultivation.

Even though output surged in the first three years of the U.S. occupation, Washington remained uninterested, resisting anything that might weaken military operations against the Taliban guerrillas. Testifying to this policy’s failure, the U.N.’s Afghanistan Opium Survey 2007 reported that the harvest that year reached a record 8,200 tons, generating 53% of the country’s gross domestic product, while accounting for 93% of the world’s illicit narcotics supply.

When a single commodity represents over half of a nation’s economy, everyone — officials, rebels, merchants, and traffickers — is directly or indirectly implicated. In 2016, the New York Times reported that both Taliban rebels and provincial officials opposing them were locked in a struggle for control of the lucrative drug traffic in Helmand Province, the source of nearly half the country’s opium. A year later, the harvest reached a record 9,000 tons, which, according to the U.S. command, provided 60% of the Taliban’s funding. Desperate to cut that funding, American commanders dispatched F-22 fighters and B-52 bombers to destroy the insurgency’s heroin laboratories in Helmand — doing inconsequential damage to a handful of crude labs and revealing the impotence of even the most powerful weaponry against the social power of the covert drug netherworld.

With unchecked opium production sustaining Taliban resistance for the past 17 years and capable of doing so for another 17, the only U.S. exit strategy now seems to be restoring those rebels to power in a coalition government — a policy tantamount to conceding defeat in its longest military intervention and least successful drug war.

High Priests of Prohibition

For the past half-century, the ever-failing U.S. drug war has found a compliant handmaiden at the U.N., whose dubious role when it comes to drug policy stands in stark contrast to its positive work on issues like climate change and peace-keeping.

In 1997, the director of U.N. drug control, Dr. Pino Arlacchi, proclaimed a 10-year program to eradicate all illicit opium and coca cultivation from the face of the planet, starting in Afghanistan. A decade later, his successor, Antonio Maria Costa, glossing over that failure, announced in the U.N.’s World Drug Report 2007 that “drug control is working and the world drug problem is being contained.” While U.N. leaders were making such grandiloquent promises about drug prohibition, the world’s illicit opium production was, in fact, rising 10-fold from just 1,200 tons in 1971, the year the U.S. drug war officially started, to a record 10,500 tons by 2017.

This gap between triumphal rhetoric and dismal reality cries out for an explanation. That 10-fold increase in illicit opium supply is the result of a market dynamic I’ve termed “the stimulus of prohibition.” At the most basic level, prohibition is the necessary precondition for the global narcotics trade, creating both local drug lords and transnational syndicates that control this vast commerce. Prohibition, of course, guarantees the existence and well-being of such criminal syndicates which, to evade interdiction, constantly shift and build up their smuggling routes, hierarchies, and mechanisms, encouraging a worldwide proliferation of trafficking and consumption, while ensuring that the drug netherworld will only grow.

In seeking to prohibit addictive drugs, U.S. and U.N. drug warriors act as if mobilizing for forceful repression could actually reduce drug trafficking, thanks to the imagined inelasticity of, or limits on, the global narcotics supply. In practice, however, when suppression reduces the opium supply from one area (Burma or Thailand), the global price just rises, spurring traders and growers to sell off stocks, old growers to plant more, and new areas (Colombia) to enter production. In addition, such repression usually only increases consumption. If drug seizures, for instance, raise the street price, then addicted consumers will maintain their habit by cutting other expenses (food, rent) or raising their income by dealing drugs to new users and so expanding the trade.

Instead of reducing the traffic, the drug war has actually helped stimulate that 10-fold increase in global opium production and a parallel surge in U.S. heroin users from just 68,000 in 1970 to 886,000 in 2017.

By attacking supply and failing to treat demand, the U.N.-U.S. drug war has been pursuing a “solution” to drugs that defies the immutable law of supply and demand. As a result, Washington’s drug war has, in the past 50 years, gone from defeat to debacle.

The Domestic Influence of Illicit Drugs

That drug war has, however, incredible staying power. It has persisted despite decades of failure because of an underlying partisan logic. In 1973, while President Richard Nixon was still fighting his drug war in Turkey and Thailand, New York’s Republican governor, Nelson Rockefeller, enacted the notorious “Rockefeller Drug Laws.” Those included mandatory penalties of 15 years to life for the possession of just four ounces of narcotics.

As the police swept inner-city streets for low-level offenders, annual prison sentences in New York State for drug crimes surged from only 470 in 1970 to a peak of 8,500 in 1999, with African-Americans representing 90% of those incarcerated. By then, New York’s state prisons held a previously unimaginable 73,000 people. During the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan, a conservative Republican, dusted off Rockefeller’s anti-drug campaign for intensified domestic enforcement, calling for a “national crusade” against drugs and winning draconian federal penalties for personal drug use and small-scale dealing.

For the previous 50 years, the U.S. prison population had remained remarkably stable at just 110 prisoners per 100,000 people. The new drug war, however, doubled those prisoners from 370,000 in 1981 to 713,000 in 1989. Driven by Reagan-era drug laws and parallel state legislation, prison inmates soared to 2.3 million by 2008, raising the country’s incarceration rate to an extraordinary 751 prisoners per 100,000 population. And 51% of those in federal penitentiaries were there for drug offenses.

Such mass incarceration has led as well to significant disenfranchisement, starting a trend that would, by 2012, deny the vote to nearly six million people, including 8% of all African-American voting-age adults, a liberal constituency that had gone overwhelmingly Democratic for more than half a century. In addition, this carceral regime concentrated its prison populations, including guards and other prison workers, in conservative rural districts of the country, creating something akin to latter-day “rotten boroughs” for the Republican Party.

Take, for example, New York’s 21st Congressional District, which covers the Adirondacks and the state’s heavily forested northern panhandle. It’s home to 14 state prisons, including some 16,000 inmates, 5,000 employees, and their 8,000 family members — making them collectively the district’s largest employer and a defining political presence. Add in the 13,000 or so troops in nearby Fort Drum and you have a reliably conservative bloc of 26,000 voters (and 16,000 non-voters), or the largest political force in a district where only 240,000 residents actually vote. Not surprisingly, the incumbent Republican congresswoman survived the 2018 blue wave to win handily with 56% of the vote. (So never say that the drug war had no effect.)

So successful were Reagan Republicans in framing this partisan drug policy as a moral imperative that two of his liberal Democratic successors, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, avoided any serious reform of it. Instead of systemic change, Obama offered clemency to about 1,700 convicts, an insignificant handful among the hundreds of thousands still locked up for non-violent drug offenses.

While partisan paralysis at the federal level has blocked change, the separate states, forced to bear the rising costs of incarceration, have slowly begun reducing prison populations. In a November 2018 ballot measure, for instance, Florida — where the 2000 presidential election was decided by just 537 ballots — voted to restore electoral rights to the state’s 1.4 million felons, including 400,000 African-Americans. No sooner did that plebiscite pass, however, than Florida’s Republican legislators desperately tried to claw back that defeat by requiring that the same felons pay fines and court costs before returning to the electoral rolls.

Not only does the drug war influence U.S. politics in all sorts of negative ways but it has reshaped American society — and not for the better, either. The surprising role of illicit drug distribution in ordering life inside some of the country’s major cities has been illuminated in a careful study by a University of Chicago researcher who gained access to the financial records of a drug gang inside Chicago’s impoverished Southside housing projects. He found that, in 2005, the Black Gangster Disciple Nation, known as GD, had about 120 bosses who employed 5,300 young men, largely as street dealers, and had another 20,000 members aspiring to those very jobs. While the boss of each of the gang’s hundred crews earned about $100,000 annually, his three officers made just $7.00 an hour, his 50 street dealers only $3.30 an hour, and their hundreds of other members served as unpaid apprentices, vying for entry-level slots when street dealers were killed, a fate which one in four regularly suffered.

So what does all this mean? In an impoverished inner city with very limited job opportunities, this drug gang provided high-mortality employment on a par with the minimum wage (then $5.15 a hour) that their peers in more affluent neighborhoods earned from much safer work at McDonald’s. Moreover, with some 25,000 members in Southside Chicago, GD was providing social order for young men in the volatile 16-to-30 age cohort — minimizing random violence, reducing petty crime, and helping Chicago maintain its gloss as a world-class business center. Until there is sufficient education and employment in the nation’s cities, the illicit drug market will continue to fill the void with work that carries a high cost in violence, addiction, imprisonment, and more generally blighted lives.

The End of Drug Prohibition

As the global prohibition effort enters its second century, we are witnessing two countervailing trends. The very idea of a prohibition regime has reached a crescendo of dead-end violence not just in Afghanistan but recently in Southeast Asia, demonstrating the failure of the drug war’s repression strategy. In 2003, Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra launched a campaign against methamphetamine abuse that prompted his police to carry out 2,275 extrajudicial killings in just three months. Carrying that coercive logic to its ultimate conclusion, on his first day as Philippine president in 2016, Rodrigo Duterte ordered an attack on drug trafficking that has since yielded 1.3 million surrenders by dealers and users, 86,000 arrests, and some 20,000 bodies dumped on city streets across the country. Yet drug use remains deeply rooted in the slums of both Bangkok and Manila.

On the other side of history’s ledger, the harm-reduction movement led by medical practitioners and community activists worldwide is slowly working to unravel the global prohibition regime. With a 1996 ballot measure, California voters, for instance, started a trend by legalizing medical marijuana sales. By 2018, Oklahoma had become the 30th state to legalize medical cannabis. Following initiatives by Colorado and Washington in 2012, eight more states to date have decriminalized the recreational use of cannabis, long the most widespread of all illicit drugs.

Hit by a surge of heroin abuse during the 1980s, Portugal’s government first reacted with repression that, as everywhere else on the planet, did little to stanch rising drug abuse, crime, and infection. Gradually, a network of medical professionals across the country adopted harm-reduction measures that would provide a striking record of proven success. After two decades of this ad hoc trial, in 2001 Portugal decriminalized the possession of all illegal drugs, replacing incarceration with counseling and producing a sustained drop in HIV and hepatitis infections.

Projecting this experience into the future, it seems likely that harm-reduction measures will be adopted progressively at local and national levels around the globe, while various endless and unsuccessful wars on drugs are curtailed or abandoned. Perhaps someday a caucus of Republican legislators in some oak-paneled Washington conference room and a choir of U.N. bureaucrats in their glass-towered Vienna headquarters will remain the only apostles preaching the discredited gospel of drug prohibition.

Alfred W. McCoy, a TomDispatch regular, is the Harrington professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is the author of The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade, the now-classic book which probed the conjuncture of illicit narcotics and covert operations over 50 years, and most recently In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. Global Power (Dispatch Books).

(Republished from TomDispatch by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Drug Laws 
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  1. Roger says:

    Excellent article.
    The real issue is black market sales and distribution of DRUGS. People with illness that require daily drugs, no matter what drug, are not the problem.
    It is always money and power that bring the corruption

    • Replies: @Bite Moi
  2. If anybody deserves reparations it’s the people who’s lives were ruined by the war on drugs.

    • Agree: AWM, Sya Beerens, R.C.
    • Replies: @Jett Rucker
  3. Giuseppe says:

    In addition, this carceral regime concentrated its prison populations, including guards and other prison workers, in conservative rural districts of the country, creating something akin to latter-day “rotten boroughs” for the Republican Party.

    What term shall we then use for entire states like California, made blue forever by immigrant voters, legal and illegal?

    • Agree: loren
  4. Such mass incarceration has led as well to significant disenfranchisement, starting a trend that would, by 2012, deny the vote to nearly six million people, including 8% of all African-American voting-age adults…

    Not to worry, between the dead and illegals casting votes, shitocrats more than made up the difference.

    • Replies: @Paw
  5. Prof. McCoy should team up with a novelist and write some novels. It seems he has source material for several.

    One novel I like on this subject is called An Absence of Light by David Lindsey and Dick Hill.

    It talks about the “covert netherworld.”

    I can now see how those veteran operatives were each describing to me a clandestine political domain, a covert netherworld in which government agents, military men, and drug traders were freed from the shackles of civil society and empowered to form secret armies, overthrow governments, and even, perhaps, kill a foreign president.

    Also available as an audio book:

  6. Franz says:

    Portugal’s model is impossible in the United States.

    It’s in the economics, which this excellent article mentions: Prison industries and enforcement officers and specialists are a large segment of middle class voters in a nation mostly deindustrialized.

    Trying to outlaw anything for which there is a proven demand was even frowned on in the ancient world, but the USA simply cannot produce a serious number of jobs for its degreed welfare class. So think of the Drug War as the ultimate “male work” program: They fight an unwinnable war and get a six-figure income; drug dealers kill each other off and create opportunities in supply-side economics.

    Hate to be cruel about it, but from the standpoint of the Plutocrats the drug war is win-win: They get elected for being “tough on drugs” and the actual drug lords are among their biggest donors. Hey, the drug lords are the only honest bunch in this whole charade.

    • Agree: AWM
    • Replies: @jack garbo
  7. it’s taken me most of my life to grasp all the complex ways this country’s drug war, from Afghanistan to Colombia, the Mexican border to inner-city Chicago, has shaped American society

    Starting out by stating what a slow learner you are is not a good idea, especially in the beginning of such a long article.

    • Replies: @Cowtown Rebel
  8. @Oleaginous Outrager

    I don’t think that he was indicating a tendency for slow learning as much as he was saying that it took him that length of time to fully process and appreciate how deeply rooted the problem is. To merely know that there is complicity at the highest levels, and to uncover the individuals and mechanisms involved is differentiated by mountains of research and countless hours of dedicated time.

    Some of the first vice laws, in terms of what could be legally consumed, were directed at Alcohol. After the Civil War, many of the veterans who had been wounded suffered from what was called “Old Soldiers Disease,” which was an addiction to morphene. In an effort to alleviate his own condition, Confederate Veteran, Dr. John Pemberton, came up with the idea of mixing the Kola Nut with the Coca Leaf and called his concoction “Coca-Cola.” He got the idea from the Coca Wine that was popular in France, but because of an alcohol prohibition in Atlanta, he used the Kola nut as a substitute for the wine. The first drug laws were passed in the 1880’s in California and were focused on Opium dens, where it was a known fact that White Women were enticed for the purposes of being shanghaied and sold into sex slavery; although modern “scholars” will dispute this as a legitimate reason. Meanwhile, other forms of Opium use remained legal and prevalent. Additional prohibitions followed, such as the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914 that outlawed Cocaine.

    Marijuana prohibition occupies a category all its own, and the reasons for it being banned have more to do with one man’s ambition and the possibility of it competing with pharmaceutical and textile manufacturers. The director of the the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (predecessor to the DEA), Harry J. Anslinger, a nephew of J. Edgar Hoover, wanted to make a name for himself, and he used Marijuana (a term virtually noone was familiar with at the time) to do it. He used his position in government to produce films like “Marihuana, Assassin of Youth,” and the much better known, “Reefer Madness” to inflame public opinion. He worked with Randolph Hearst to disseminate lurid stories about Marihuana addicts going insane and hacking family members to death with axes, and tales of White Women being seduced by Negroes with Jazz music and Reefer (the latter was not entirely untrue). Hearst didn’t want hemp fiber to compete with his timber interests. Dupont didn’t want it to be an alternative to its synthetic fibers. And, because Cannabis was an active ingredient in at least one hundred over the counter medications at the time, drug companies didn’t want a cheap, readily available, natural remedy to compete with their expensive, laboratory blended, concoctions. So, these elements came together for a common purpose to further their own peculiar interests.

    It’s been said that “they make the laws that they want you to break.” After reading a couple of books that dealt with vice laws in the 1800’s and early 1900’s, I have come to the same conclusion. One of the books was “Gangs of New York.” The film contains composite sketches of actual people and mainly focuses on the time of the War Between the States. The book covers a period from around 1830 to about 1919, just before Prohibition was enacted. The other book, “Hell’s Halfacre” tells the story of the redlight district in my hometown during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. To me, the defining characteristic in both places was the dual nature of law enforcement. There would be crackdowns to appease the clergy and citizenry, and then there would be payoffs and bribes to protect and perpetuate the illicit practices. In Hell’s Halfacre, the people would complain that it was dangerous to walk the streets, so the gambling halls, brothels and saloons, would be sent packing. As a result the cowboys, and, later, the railroad men, would find other places to spend their leisure time and money. Soon after, the businesses would complain about a loss of revenue and the municipal coffers would run dry, so a system of arrest, walk through processing, and fines were instituted as a guise to a make it appear as though the laws were being enforced, and as a means of generating city income.

    After downtown Cowtown became too refined, the gambling, prostitution, and drinking just moved out to Top O’Hill Terrace. After it was raided and shut down, the Jacksboro Highway became the avenue of broken dreams. So it continues, only now instead of one section of the city having a monopoly on crime and vice, the entire town is saturated with it. But, what remains the same is the enormous amount of money that is generated from fines and legal fees. Nothing has changed in New York either, look at what happened to Frank Serpico.

    • Thanks: R.C.
    • Replies: @Jojo28
  9. Jett Rucker says: • Website

    I agree with you. I’d register my agreement through the AGREE/DISAGREE/ETC. button, but I haven’t logged a comment in the last ten days, so I have to use REPLY to register my agreement.

  10. anarchyst says:

    The CIA has been then world’s largest and most successful drug dealer for the past 50 years or so. How do you think all of their “black projects” get funded? The CIA operates under an umbrella of secrecy and is quite able to move “product” wherever and whenever it wants.
    The “drug war” is a “smoke screen” which has been successful in maintaining the “prison-judicial” complex, which involves everyone from the street cop to prosecutors, judges and jailers. A symbiotic relationship exists for a very good reason. Manufactured crime is the result.

    • Replies: @Antiwar7
    , @getaclue
  11. Jojo28 says:

    You mean a “white male work program”…..

    the ultimate AFFIRMATIVE ACTION program built squarely on the backs of BLACKS for white men. Of course you ‘conservatives’will never object to that and then pretend to not know “why are those people so an angry?”

    • Replies: @Loren
    , @Wally
  12. Jojo28 says:
    @Cowtown Rebel


    The “vice” laws have always been used for one thing and one thing only.

    Ethnic and Racial Suppression.

    First against newly freed Southern blacks. Then against newly arrived Irish, Italian,Jewish immigrants (Prohibition)

    Anti Marijuana against Mexicans in the SouthWest.

    “AntiCocaine” against the Blacks in the South

    And them “antiDrugs” agaInst the Blacks again. It is DOCUMENTED that Nixon himself the creator of the DEA did so in order to use antidrug policy to “keep down the blacks” and to destroy the anti-war movement.

    You people have a lot to answer for.

  13. anonymous1963 [AKA "anon19"] says:

    The government has dissolved the people of California and elected a new one.

    • Replies: @getaclue
  14. Franz says:

    It is DOCUMENTED that Nixon himself the creator of the DEA did so in order to use antidrug policy to “keep down the blacks” and to destroy the anti-war movement.

    Right. Most anti-war protests were peaceful. Dick Nixon wasn’t about to take on the First Amendment and peaceful assembly, so when it was noted that large numbers of anti-war people also smoked a bit of very weak grass, the game was on.

    It was a fraud then and it’s a fraud now. Worse yet is the fact that cannabis is a potent natural cure for everything from menstrual cramps to irritable bowel syndrome. But it’s the Big Pharmaceutical corporations who have a vested interest in cures that are expensive, dangerous, and in direct competition with a natural herb that’s cheap, works, and you can grow yourself.

    Nixon’s in hell for that one. A whole lot of living jerks will be joining him soon enough.

  15. Antiwar7 says:

    “You people”? WTF? That’s as unsupportable as saying all black people are responsible for black crime.

  16. Antiwar7 says:

    Anyone that’s for criminalizing drugs is de facto for giving violent criminals the right to print money.

  17. Antiwar7 says:

    Afghani hash in 1979/80, Columbian cocaine in the 1980’s, … All “force multipliers” for whatever cash they already get for their projects.

  18. anonymous[340] • Disclaimer says:

    I have been predicting that both Mr. Napolitano and Mr. Engelhardt would depart, and their sliding down this week to join the Archived makes it official.

    The bases for my prediction were the overwhelmingly negative comments about their hypocritical Beltway baloney. I would like to know if either proffered the excuse — which I also anticipated — that they didn’t want to be associated with the truly dissident writers published here. Or, if the decision was that of Mr. Unz — which I doubt — please confirm and explain that decision.

    Thank you.

  19. Loren says:

    Police? Probation officers?

  20. paranoidgoy says: • Website

    Aw! jojo is angry. Listen bro’ (pronounced BRA), racism is the lowest form of political thought. The article states that drug laws are a form of revenue earning, therefor every municipality will enforce law most profitable in their jurisdiction. THAT is why you prosecute marijuana in Mex districs, Heroin in white, Coke in any area where it is on sale without CIA sanction…
    “Any young man who, at age 19 is not a communist, has no heart. Any man who at age 25 is still a communist, has no brain.” I am sad to report that growth away from racism (and other -isms) is severely limited by one’s honesty towards oneself, regarding things like racism, which you obviously just embraced as “politics”. Good luck to you, may you grow.

  21. Paw says:
    @Sick of Orcs

    It is the war of Drugs and led by the Govt. and security on populations…The War /together with the other wars/,is the right word.

  22. AceDeuce says:


    ….”antidrug policy to ‘keep down the blacks’ ”

    Anti drug policy only has any effect on anyone when they do drugs. Blacks don’t have an excess of brain cells to destroy. I thought that they were trying to succeed. Why are they doing illegal drugs at all?

  23. It has been investigated and proven that the top players’ are not just the CIA; many extremely wealthy elite families are involved in money laundering drug profits (Rothschilds’) or finance large exchanges and, thus, collect a percentage off the traffic. It is no different than the Opium Trade into China during the 19th century which saw 2 Opium Wars to enforce the Elites drug protits. Now there is just more secrecy about who is making the money. The Chinese are profiting by flooding the U.S.and Five Finger markets with Fentanyl.
    Hey, even Obama loved to get him some crack cocaine between blow jobs! Hunter Biden returns rental cars with crack pipes under the seat!

  24. Wally says:

    Is that why so many blacks are in on it too?

    – 14% of police officers are black, 12% of US population is black

    Black Police Organization:

    The National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives :

    Black Officers More Likely than White Officers to Shoot Suspects :
    Police are more likely to shoot whites, not blacks:
    Study Concludes White Police Officers Are Not More Likely To Shoot Black Citizens :

  25. Dr TAN says:

    As a physician of 40 years, now retired, back in the 1980s I was the medical director of a methadone clinic and in house detox hospital. After interviewing 1000s of patients, I discovered, that the term ‘drug addicts’ is inappropriate. These people have illness, some times physical, sometimes mental, and most of the time both. They had been to many doctors only to get treated poorly, insulted and blown off. As a physician, my theme was “I am your doctor, not your judge and jury.” Yet most doctors had negative opinions about these people and as a result, they had to seek a solution on the street, which they did, street drugs.
    At that time, there was around 1500 major drug dealers (guestimate), each making around 1 million per week and paying others around $200,000 a week to do the sales and distribution. Making 1 million dollars a week is a hefty paycheck and these folks are not living in the projects. They live in high class neighborhoods, and they vocalize, ‘we need to stop the drug addicts, make all drugs illegal.’ These drug dealers are making a lot of money and they want to keep drugs illegal, to keep getting the money.
    A group of drugs called Opiate agonist-antagonists, nubain, buprenex, stadol, talwin, there are more, that do not have the side effect of apnea. Apnea is not breathing. In humans, opiates get in the brain, latch on to the breathing locus and cause humans to stop breathing. And death will ensue unless the person starts breathing again or another breaths for them.
    The opiate agonist-antagonists have a very low apnea potential except at very high doses. When they first came out, the cost was very low, a single dose of buprenex was around 15 cents. Today, the same single dose of buprenex costs $25.00 today. As a result, the agonist-antagonists are not used, cost prohibitive.
    If a person has been taking a standard opiate agonist (such as morphine, heroine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, etc) and then they take opiate agonist-antagonist, the person will go into reversal, and it can cause withdrawal. However, by taking more, the opiate agonist-antagonist can take over.
    My suggestion is to put the opiate agonist-antagonist as over the counter drugs, this has the potential to satisfy those people that have a street opiate habit.
    For meth habits I would suggest modafinil / andrafinil , my experience with patients is that these two products seem to satisfy the person with a meth habit and modafinil does not increase heart rate, it does not increase the blood pressure, modafinil is a selective alpha agonist, stimulating the awake center in the brain, nearly exclusively.

    As far as anxiety, legalizing the benzodiazepines may be a solution, though benzodiazepines are the most addictive substances known to man. But they are safe products, with few side effects.

    With billions of dollars being made within the street drug business, the only solution is to make some drugs legal, the opiate agonist-antagonists have the potential to put a big dent in street opiate business.
    Modafinil and andrafinil would make a big dent in the street meth business.
    Benzodiazepines would make a big dent in some of the other street drug business.

    Some drugs are going to have to be over the counter, the street drug business is so large that it could turn into a society like Mexico with the drug cartels creating mayhem for anyone that gives them trouble.
    The price on society is to high. As a physician, it is my opinion that most people over time will get off any drugs that they start using. As taking drugs is a monkey on one’s back and it is not a good thing. The black market is a very bad situation and making drugs legal, what ever one decides, has to be done. The risk and dangers to our society out weigh any of the problems that could occur from legalizing street drugs.

    • Agree: AWM, GomezAdddams, R.C., HbutnotG
    • Replies: @HbutnotG
  26. getaclue says:

    Currently doing so Nationwide….

  27. Sulu says:

    When asked why things are done a certain way the answer is invariably “money.” Despite the softening attitude toward marijuana I don’t think hard drugs will ever be legalized. The prison system, the C.I.A., politicians, the banking industry would lose billions if drugs were legalized. It’s just not going to happen, ever.

    • Replies: @Biff
    , @Clevon
  28. @Franz

    You have a “funny” idea of honest. Perhaps “candid” is the better word.

  29. Franz says:

    You have a “funny” idea of honest. Perhaps “candid” is the better word.

    Perhaps. But honest is in the mix.

    Here’s why: Know any long-term pain patients? I do. They were cut off totally and their lives took a dive for the worse. All because a handful of abusers augmented their heroin/fentanyl back when painkillers were allegedly easier to get. All for show. All to make the government more intrusive than it already was.

    Enter the drug dealers: As per the eternal rules of free enterprise, they are filling a need that’s been artificially stifled. And doing so with calm courage.

    I won’t go as far as calling them heroes. Just intrepid and brave like all pirates. Unlike the DEA, FDA, and CDC. Those pirates hide behind unconstitutional laws. And have armies to protect them. Every drug dealer knows the odds against him are thousands to one. But he soldiers on anyway.

    The spirit of Jean Lafitte lives!

  30. While I cannot disagree much, I shall refrain from buying a book “assisted” by an operative that came to suppress your work. No doubt he bragged a lot of crimes to you, but that surely prevented you from asking the right questions. Which ‘right’ questions? We don’t know, you spent your time listening to tales of criminal heroism. As per CIA procedure!
    In the end, you raise important issues to people who would not think of them by themselves, thus I commend your work.

  31. Biff says:

    I think you mean just in the U.S.A.

  32. Treg says:

    The medicalization of the drug problem is wise and practical. But it’s not convincing because it does not give us EMOTIONALLY what we need as humans, which is a moral condemnation of the practice. We need discouragement that to most, the price to pay exceeds the drug use benefit.

    The reason humans everywhere around the planet do not jump on the drug decriminalization-medicalization solution is that it fails to provide a moral condemnation of the practice. There is no shame in it, no discouragement that exceeds the drug use benefit.

    Yet we all universally know that the erection of this Moral Condemnation via a “Humiliationg Social Payment” is the “wall” that will make everyone “Think TWICE” before engaging in the practice. It’s both a deterrent and a punishment. It’s an Emotional Price that must be paid.

    We all “feel it in our gut” that simply allowing 100% drug freedom will not turn out well for society as a whole. This is why the near-universal agreement with the drug war itself. It’s intuitive, except for all those who think & write too much about the subject. But for the rest of humanity on the planet, they will know the solution when they hear it. Yes, they are starting to see the harms of the Drug War, but…. the right solution has not been offered, or they would have jumped on it by now.

    So to solve “the drug war problem” and give people what they need (decriminalization-medicalization), we should discuss what they emotionally need: ie a “humiliating social payment” to be paid. Now that is where the discussion should start and once we decide on what that “humiliating social payment” is, then drug decriminalization-medicalization solution will be swiftly accepted by everyone around the world.

    True, different people in different cultures will decide on different “humiliating social payments”, but the net effect is the same. We could give millions of people a simple multi-choice questionnaire such as:

    ….. 1) A new law has been proposed for our country. The war on drugs will end and no longer earn jail time imprisonment. Instead, people with an intoxicating drug usage problem will be turned into Medical Rehab centers for treatment. Moreover, there will be this social price to pay. Pick one that you think will be the best for our society.

    A) Working 12 weeks working on our roadside cleaning up trash & garbage.

    B) 12 weeks of cleaning out the inside of empty prison cells.

    C) 12 weeks of both A & B.

    D My suggestion is: _________________________________.

  33. Heroin has been de facto decriminalized in SF for over a decade.

    They have one the highest addiction rates in the country.

    Libertarians have been telling us that legalizing hard drugs will improve the situation and that simply didn’t happen.

    Libertarians have been wrong about everything. Open borders and legal heroin does not improve a country.

    Oh and they also want criminals to be able to buy full auto AK-47s without a background check. Why don’t the just move to Somalia and build their Randian paradise there? According to Rand human genetics and race don’t exist so it should only take a few tax breaks and deregulation bills to turn Somalia into a modern paradise.

  34. We don’t have a drug war! All we have is a fight over drug money, political influence, power, proceeds, and distribution of assets. To have a war, you have to have objectives, and goals that benefit we the people. In your alleged drug war, we have a totally chained down law enforcement, working for we the people on one side (99%) fighting over the plunder. Anyone who wants drugs legalized is a moron with no cause and effect genes. All legalization will do is cost tax payers, and insurance payers ever increasing amounts (redistribution of wealth). The communist democrats see it as a way to gain voters (power), and take money from the cartels (redistribution of wealth). The republicans aren’t smart enough to make a decision either way (too many lawyers), so they just raise their hands and answer one of two things. Either- me too! Or, yeah, whatever! There are only two sources of unaccountable cash. Drugs, and organized crime. Just ask the deep state, global cocaine distribution. The clowns in action, global heroin distribution. The chinese, global fentanyl distribution. And the israelis, global mdma distribution.

  35. Believe me, you don’t want to live in a world where everyone is on coke because it is available without any stigma or danger in purchasing.

    I maintain that there are many people who have never tried such things but would get hooked immediately given the opportunity. What did Woody Allen say, something about coke being God’s way of telling you that you have too much money?

  36. HT says:

    More snake oil. Drug usage was effectively decriminalized decades ago when we stopped putting drug users in prison and instead sent them to endless drug treatment programs. The “war on drugs” was basically using massive enforcement methods against drug sellers. This does not work because with so many drug users to sell to, you can lock up as many dealers as you want but there will always be someone to take their place because it is so lucrative. The only way to stop drugs from dominating our country is to return to what worked, stiff criminal penalties for both usage and sales as they do in countries where drug use is almost non-existent.

  37. There is no drug war! Once the countries started taking over the drug business, israel=mdma, Afghanistan+cia=opium, bolivia+cia+colombia=cocaine, china+cia= methamphetamine/fentanyl, mexico=marijuana, communist democrats+Domestic marijuana market, the drug war turned into an unaccountable money management scheme. Sad day for the hard working people of the world with functioning cause and effect genes.

  38. Here are my 2¢ on the subject…

    Quite some time ago, our beloved HILLARY was convening a press release(?), in which she was fielding questions from the reporters standing around her. I believe that this was when she was Secretary of State, but I am not sure. Anyway, it was on television that this occurred. One of the reporters asked her why the government didn’t just legalize drugs and she answered, “Because there’s too much money in it.”

    After she had realized that she had spoken the truth, she tried taking back her words. But it was too late; she had “let the cat out of the bag.” Probably the only words of truth that she has ever spoken…

    In my opinion, there will NEVER come a time when drugs are legalized because as Hillary said, there is just too much money at stake: lawyers; judges; the prison-industrial complex; the military-industrial complex; Big Pharma; the big banks laundering billions of dollars a year tax-free, the medical “industry,” etc.

    Ain’t gonna happen…

    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
  39. Clevon says:

    There are only three sources of unattributable money. Drugs, organized crime, and the treasury printing press. Organized crime is synonymous with politics.

  40. Bite Moi says:

    Roger——-Meh. Treat addicts like roaches and poison the illegal drug supply.

    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
  41. Anonymous[345] • Disclaimer says:

    While the boss of each of the gang’s hundred crews earned about $100,000 annually, his three officers made just $7.00 an hour, his 50 street dealers only $3.30 an hour

    It just goes to show…

    Negroes be stupid.

    And the figures are made up.

  42. R.C. says:

    All societies (except inuit, I think) have had drugs of choice. Obviously, the PTB don’t wish to relinquish the control that the drug war scam has provided, and will continue to provide, them.
    Read Miller’s Drug Warriors and Their Prey.

    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
  43. It has been claimed that Nixon’s decision to intensify drug detection and interception at the Mexican border led directly to the grow-marijuana-in-America movement.

    It has also been – quite trivially – claimed that Muskogee became known as a center for the cultivation of the best weed in the Midwest and that the Proud Okies were rolling in cash and buying new pickups.

    Of course, the real place, then and now, is and was Humboldt County in California.

    • Replies: @Jim Bob Lassiter
  44. Treg says:

    I am just thinking out loud, but maybe a government program to get drug addicts “drug-free” already exists, I am not sure but I would assume so.

    But my question is this, “Is it a private business?”

    With such businesses as “FastMed”, “NextCare”, “GoHealth”, “MedExpress”, and “UrgentCare”, I am hopeful that a new medical company arises that specializes in drug rehabilitation.

    Perhaps it will be simply called “DrugFree”. Such a company might “make bank” just getting their local city and county courts in a habit of sending those arrested sent there, rather than prison. Perhaps a private company could do a much better job than any government program ever could? Perhaps private charities could “sponsor” some unpaying customers who just walked in for help? Perhaps families could go there as a place to help, rather than go to the police and courts?

    Again, just thinking out loud.

  45. @Billy Corr

    The real place now is in most any basement or in an almost worthless mobile home on a rented lot under artificial lights with the skills to control growing conditions and make an accurate early ID of male plants and remove them before any pollination occurs.

    • Agree: RadicalCenter
  46. HbutnotG says:
    @Dr TAN

    Today, most of the bucks lining “the one percent’s” pockets is indirectly drug money – one way or another. It is said that if you hold almost any $100 bill up to your nose and sniff, you’ll get a coke high.

    And ever since the War On Drugs ensued, that “one percent” has increased a billionfold! Why? Because illegal drugs are the same thing as hot available amiable young & tender pussy, available with no prior dinner tab or sweet talk needed – you want it? Pay for it! And, baby, they do!

    The drug biz is an entire economy – I suspect bigger than the automotive industry or high tech. And, it’s just as much the money as the high.. So, just legalize and standardize drugs and that economy will vanish. With it will vanish a lot of crime since nobody has to bash somebody’s brains out to get something to hock for drug money now that you can get a fix for less than the cost of a bucket of KFC. Columbia will go the way of Somalia, but so what?

    Legalizing drugs is not a new idea, and criminalizing drugs not only foments the animal-level “regulation” that goes on in a street level enforced “war” on drugs….but after 40 years, let’s face it, the war on drugs certainly hasn’t made drugs go away – neither in their growing fields nor in your little Midwest town.

    Frankly, I equate drug use with that “it’s my body I’ll do what I want with it” philosophy which is difficult to argue with – unless you are one of those socialistas that insist the government has to tend you like an infant – or, at least act that way.

    But if that legalization was done…there’d be a bigger economic crash than 1929 – and quickly…before the ink had a chance to dry.

  47. Either build more prisons with considerable penalties or legalize it

    • Replies: @Brad Anbro
  48. Official Name ……….. Actual Function
    War on Drugs …………….. War on natural rights and personal autonomy
    War on Poverty ………….. War on the peasants ability to accumulate generational wealth
    War on Terrorism ……….. War on liberty and representative government
    War on Covid ……………… Bioterrorism

    Did I miss any?

    The road to hell is paved with good intentions and good intentions is a core Judeo-Christian™ value.

    • Agree: GomezAdddams
  49. @Doodlebaby

    There are already too many prisons now. The main problem with the prisons is that the wrong individuals are being housed in them.

    Want to talk about the REAL CRIME in this country? Then you would be talking about individuals wearing 3-piece business suits. But, wait! Their crimes are all “legal.”

    • Agree: RadicalCenter
  50. @Giuseppe

    What term shall we then use for entire states like California, made blue forever by immigrant voters, legal and illegal?

    I nominate “Shithole.”

  51. It is time to end counterproductive ”war on drugs;” Americans will never stop using them; they just empower the evil drug cartels; that money could be going to cities and states; at fundamental issue does government have a right to tell people what to use and not use? Of course there are many vested interests who have stake in illicit narcotics remaining prohibited; law enforcement and the prison industry are two of them. Portugal has legalized narcotics and their country has not collapsed; time for us to do the same.

  52. @Brad Anbro

    It’s quite possible that federal marijuana prohibition will be repealed in the USA.

    Even more likely that most of the remaining pot-prohibition States will wise up and “allow” a taxed, regulated legal marijuana market for adults, as with the FAR more medically and socially destructive alcohol and tobacco.

    But the various “legal gangs” — I.e. governments — will get a huge cut, as always. This time the government gangs will get their cut through exorbitant “excise” and sales taxes on the legal marijuana sales, rather than just the traditional bribery and government-sponsored drug trafficking of pre-legalization days.

  53. @Bite Moi

    We’re all going to die someday and face God, my vicious fellow. We’ve all said things that we regret in the heat of emotion, and hopefully that statement is one of those for you.

    Wishing death on murderers and rapists and child molesters (and their enablers) is one thing; wishing it on people who are addicted to a drug just for that reason seems wrong. I’m not saying that we should pay for their lives forever if they can’t and won’t kick the habit (with our help), just that we shouldn’t hate them or wish them ill merely because of their addiction.

  54. @R.C.

    Thank you. And what are the top addictive substances which Americans use the most to destroy their health and well-being (and wildly inflate “healthcare” i.e. damage-control costs)? Not marijuana. Not even cocaine or heroin. Rather:


    *including that modern American staple, high-fructose corn syrup.

    See how the zealous fat-ass tough-guy prohibitionists would fare if the government criminalizes their precious sugar and caffeine.

    Even funnier would be a nicotine-addict (sorry, “tobacco user”) who supports imprisoning and wrecking the lives of adults who use marijuana — there are many millions of such people in the USA — finding out that HIS own addiction has now become a crime too. “Hoist by his own petard” might be the old phrase that fits.

    Just for the record, I’m drinking a nice strong tea from the south of Russia, so nothing against tea or even a little sugar, and some pot on a day off. LOL….

  55. Very interesting comments have been presented. I am a 70-year-old retired industrial electrician and at most of the factories where I worked, I was penalized with a higher rate for insurance costs – for smoking a PIPE. It did not matter that I almost never missed a day of work, compared to many of the non-smokers who missed a lot of work.

    The so-called “war on drugs” in the United States is as phony as a $3 bill. The government ALLOWS the drugs into this country, so that the banks can continue to launder billions of dollars every year, all tax-free income for them. Not to mention the CIA deriving much of their income from illegal drugs.

    There have been a few American individuals who have tried to expose this. Most of them have wound up DEAD – Gary Webb and Michael Ruppert come to mind. Also check out what Ricky “Freeway” Ross has to say, as well as Celerino Castillo.

  56. HVMII says:

    As a nation, the U.S. needs to ask itself if it wants to move towards the legalization of schedule 1 narcotics such as cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine (not including marijuana which is also considered schedule 1). Obviously U.S. proscriptive policies have not worked.

    However, there are several caveats regarding legalization that I would like to point out:

    1. Say’s Law states that supply creates demand. Say’s Law is the reason given by the State Department to justify its interdiction and eradication policies in Latin America. By applying Say’s Law it is possible to argue that legalization would increase demand, because supply would become readily available. Because cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine are addictive drugs, the legalization of schedule 1 narcotics could increase the number of dependent addicts.

    The simple response regarding drug usage is that individuals have the right over their own bodies to consume what they choose to consume. This is indeed true. However, the question regarding addiction is whether or not individuals will lose their independence and become wards of the state who require public assistance to maintain or cure them of their habit. If schedule 1 narcotics are legalized, will citizens be willing to pay the taxes required to deal with addicts who are unable to help themselves? Do those who become addicted to schedule 1 narcotics have no right to demand that non-users subsidize their dependency?

    2. If legalization does occur, it will be highly regulated. The safety of others (i.e. driving a car, flying a plane, etc.) is another consideration regarding legalization.

    Another issue regarding safety will be Food and Drug Administration regulation owing to the use of pesticides and other chemicals that may be used in the production of schedule 1 narcotics. The legalization of schedule 1 narcotics by individual states is also an interstate commerce issue that increases regulation. If the federal government legalizes schedule 1 narcotics, will the Interstate Commerce Act become necessary to regulate production in the same way cigarettes are produced? Ultimately, like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, legalization will cause the existing regulatory bodies to metamorphose into new regulatory bodies with repurposed missions. Legalization will require another type of intrusive federal government bureaucracy to monitor drug use for employment, safety purposes, and health concerns.

    3. The legalization of narcotics will become cartelized. In order to collect revenue, states will grant licenses to control the production and distribution of legalized narcotics. Those licenses will be granted to politically well connected interests who will use their lobbying influence to regulate the marketplace. By no means will legalization allow individuals to produce, buy, and sell narcotics in a true free market. Instead, those who have lobbying power will eliminate competition through regulation. It will be a mockery of democracy if licenses are granted to well connected big corporations but at the same time an individual is threatened with jail if they produce a single plant.

    4. Legalization may have negative consequences in source producing countries. The land where coca is produced is difficult to access and limited primarily to the Northern Andean region where the soil has a high alkali content and where coca can only be grown at altitudes of 2,500-4,500 feet. In order to meet increased demand, only large-scale business would have the economies of scale to bring large amounts of coca to the market for the conversion of coca paste into cocaine. If legalization makes coca a high-demand product, reverse land reform becomes a reality. Would legalization create a situation where the demand for coca growing land becomes so valuable that only the wealthiest landowners or corporations can afford to own and pay taxes on the land? Would campesinos see the economic rewards of legalization or would multinational corporations and/or national bureaucracies which fix prices and production, exploit their labor and land? If legalization does occur, the solution for the source producing countries must be a local solution in terms of production and ownership.

    I by no means support the drug war. I am solely pointing out some of the problems regarding legalization before everyone simplistically jumps on the band wagon thinking Kumbaya all of our problems will go away if we just end the war on drugs.

    I could continue with this discussion but will stop here because this is solely the comments section.

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