The DEA brags about how it makes life hard for drug dealers:
“International drug kingpins are no longer safe from the long arm of the DEA, and the law...” -- July 2007
"DEA is holding meth dealers accountable. We are seizing their profits, shutting down their distribution networks, and putting dealers where they belong- behind bars." -- Feb 2010
Holding dealers accountable sounds good – but the DEA’s actions are pointless. The government should acknowledge that it was criminalizing drugs that created the dealers in the first place.
We haven’t read about the scourge of the international booze kingpins. Or evil cigarette cartels. Because those goods are legal, they are produced and sold by peaceful merchants -- not by violent thugs.
Ending alcohol prohibition put bootleggers out of business. Now NPR reports that increasing tolerance of marijuana in California is doing the same to drug dealers:
Legal pot, under the guise of the California's medical marijuana laws, has spurred a rush of new competition. As a result, the wholesale price of pot grown is plunging...
One former dealer said that the low prices are scaring dealers who were used to making more:
"There's a tremendous amount of concern, borderlining on fear," says [a] former underground grower.”
Good. The reason dealers made high profits is that the government gave them a monopoly: Only those willing to break the law could sell pot.
The war on drugs and frequent raids by federal drug agents have helped support the local economy -- keeping prices for street sales of pot high and keeping profits rich.
As marijuana in California becomes more legal, profits for thuggish dealers fall.
So it's nice to see that the smart money at Intrade.com now says there's a 55% chance that California will legalize marijuana this fall.