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The Drug War & Drug Money

Carter writes that the illegality of drugs creates an incentive for individual Americans to participate in the drug trade because of the money involved:

The money that can be made from an illegal product that has about 23 million current users in this country also explains why its sale is so attractive on the mean streets of America's big cities. A street salesman can gross about $2500 a day in Washington, which puts him in the category of a local television anchor, and this in a neighborhood of dead-end job chances (9-10).

Again, the legalization of drugs would instantly eliminate such an illegal job market because there would be no financial incentive to deal drugs outside of the government-controlled operation after drugs were legalized. The importance of this aspect of Carter's argument cannot be overestimated because it relates to the crime, especially the violent crime, which is engendered among suppliers, dealers and users of drugs. Elimination of the financial incentives of dealing drugs will eliminate much of the violent crime which is an expression of the competition for drug customers and territory among drug suppliers and dealers.

Carter addresses the alternative to legalization: an increase in efforts to stop rugs through the courts and jails:

Since the courts and jails are already swamped beyond capacity by the arrests that are routinely made (44,000 drug dealers and users over a two-year period in Washington alone), and since those arrests barely skim the top of the pond, arguing that stricter enforcement is the answer begs a larger question: Who is going to pay the billions of dollars required [for such an expanded law enforcement effort]? (10).

This question is especially vital and relevant in an increasingly conservative era in which every penny and dollar of public monies is analyzes as to its allocation and effectiveness in public programs. Conservatives are inconsistent in the conflict between their mo...

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The Drug War & Drug Money. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 11:19, August 20, 2017, from
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