Sunday, June 28, 2009

Another reason to end the war on drugs

As reported by New York Daily News:

A Brooklyn day care center where kids slept through a robbery and gunfight was actually a drug house with 10 pounds of marijuana and $100,000 cash in its basement, police said Saturday.

If marijuana was legal, more people would grow their own, the people who bought it would buy it at Walgreens, and the amount of cash lying around wouldn't be much different from any "legitimate" enterprise.

Because it's illegal, nobody wants to get caught with a plant on the window sill, so they buy their weed from dealers who assume the risk of growing it, transporting it, etc.

Because of that risk, it goes for outlandish prices.

Because of those outlandish prices, everyone knows the dealers are handling large amounts of cash.

Because selling pot is illegal, everyone also knows that that cash isn't going into a bank vault, or at least not immediately. It's going under a mattress or into a rinky-dink wall safe until some of it can be used to front for more product and the rest can be "laundered."

Finally, because selling pot is illegal, most dealers aren't going to call the cops to report a robbery. In this particular case, the cops did get called, but this case was an exception. Maybe the caller panicked because his wife was in the clutches of a gunman. Maybe he has a conscience and wasn't willing to let the gunmen run wild a minute longer in a building full of children. Maybe both. But I'd bet money that if the robbery had come off cleanly and he had heard about it only after the fact, 911 would never have been dialed.

For all practical purposes the "war on drugs" might as well have been designed, on every major point, to create situations just like this one. The war itself is far, far more dangerous and deadly than the drugs ever were. There are many good reasons to end it, but this incident proves that the old standby, "for the children," applies in spades.

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