Our (totally made up, unofficial) Legalization Week continues today with Katie Addleman’s exploration of the drug trade, and the catastrophic effect prohibition has had on law enforcement, gang violence, addicts’ health, and community safety:
Ounce for ounce, marijuana is worth more than gold, and heroin more than uranium. Yet it’s only as a direct result of international policy that drugs are so valuable; if they weren’t illegal, they’d be worthless. Prohibition floats the drug trade by raising potential profits to astronomical levels, and the drug trade in turn floats the gangs who control it. “Because of … their illegality and associated criminal sanctions,” writes Chettleburgh, “those willing to trade in them—drug cartels, organized crime syndicates, so-called narco-terrorist groups and street gangs—can demand high prices and derive great profits.”
“You’re talking about a profession where people accept a risk of being murdered, execution-style, as an occupational hazard,” said Bratzer. “How is a mandatory minimum sentence going to deter a person who already accepts the risk of being shot and having their body dumped in a car?”
Tomorrow: Rosemary Counter on raw milk.