January 11, 2004
Scenes from the Drug War
From “More Reefer Madness,” by Eric Schlosser, The Atlantic:
In California thirty-one state and federal drug agents raided Donald P. Scott’s 200-acre Malibu ranch on the pretext that marijuana was growing there. Scott was inadvertently killed during the raid. No evidence of marijuana cultivation was discovered, and a subsequent investigation by the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office found that the drug agents had been motivated partly by a desire to seize the $5 million ranch.
If you haven’t read the article that begat the book, give it a whirl. It’s a catalogue of hypocrisy, futility, ruined lives, and government corruption, all borne out of an initiative that cost $10 billion for law enforcement in 2003, and $19 billion overall (PDF).
So far, in 2003, 50,342 people have been arrested as part of the War on Drugs, reports the War On Drugs Clock. Oh wait, make that 50,346. Almost half of these arrests are for marijuana offenses. “More people are now incarcerated in the nation’s prisons for marijuana than for manslaughter or rape,” said Eric Schlosser in 1997.