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Dealing Death and Drugs: The Big Business of Dope in the U.S. and Mexico

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The War on Drugs doesn’t work. This became obvious to El Paso City Representatives Susie Byrd and Beto O’Rourke when they started to ask questions about why El Paso’s sister city, Ciudad Juárez, has become the deadliest city in the world—8,000-plus deaths since January 1, 2008. Byrd and O’Rourke soon realized American drug use and United States' failed War on Drugs are at The War on Drugs doesn’t work. This became obvious to El Paso City Representatives Susie Byrd and Beto O’Rourke when they started to ask questions about why El Paso’s sister city, Ciudad Juárez, has become the deadliest city in the world—8,000-plus deaths since January 1, 2008. Byrd and O’Rourke soon realized American drug use and United States' failed War on Drugs are at the core of problem. In Dealing Death and Drugs — a book written for the general reader — they explore the costs and consequences of marijuana prohibition. They argue that marijuana prohibition has created a black market so profitable that drug kingpins are billionaires and drug control doesn’t stand a chance. Using Juárez as their focus, they describe the business model of drug trafficking and explain why this illicit system has led to the never-ending slaughter of human beings. Their position: the only rational alternative to the War on Drugs is to end to the current prohibition on marijuana. "If Washington won’t do anything different, if Mexico City won’t do anything different, then it is up to us — the citizens of the border who understand the futility and tragedy of this current policy first hand — to lead the way." — from the Afterword A portion of the proceeds from the sale of Dealing Death and Drugs will be donated to Centro Santa Catalina, a faith-based community in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, founded in 1996 by Dominican Sisters for the spiritual, educational and economic empowerment of economically poor women and for the welfare of their families.


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The War on Drugs doesn’t work. This became obvious to El Paso City Representatives Susie Byrd and Beto O’Rourke when they started to ask questions about why El Paso’s sister city, Ciudad Juárez, has become the deadliest city in the world—8,000-plus deaths since January 1, 2008. Byrd and O’Rourke soon realized American drug use and United States' failed War on Drugs are at The War on Drugs doesn’t work. This became obvious to El Paso City Representatives Susie Byrd and Beto O’Rourke when they started to ask questions about why El Paso’s sister city, Ciudad Juárez, has become the deadliest city in the world—8,000-plus deaths since January 1, 2008. Byrd and O’Rourke soon realized American drug use and United States' failed War on Drugs are at the core of problem. In Dealing Death and Drugs — a book written for the general reader — they explore the costs and consequences of marijuana prohibition. They argue that marijuana prohibition has created a black market so profitable that drug kingpins are billionaires and drug control doesn’t stand a chance. Using Juárez as their focus, they describe the business model of drug trafficking and explain why this illicit system has led to the never-ending slaughter of human beings. Their position: the only rational alternative to the War on Drugs is to end to the current prohibition on marijuana. "If Washington won’t do anything different, if Mexico City won’t do anything different, then it is up to us — the citizens of the border who understand the futility and tragedy of this current policy first hand — to lead the way." — from the Afterword A portion of the proceeds from the sale of Dealing Death and Drugs will be donated to Centro Santa Catalina, a faith-based community in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, founded in 1996 by Dominican Sisters for the spiritual, educational and economic empowerment of economically poor women and for the welfare of their families.

30 review for Dealing Death and Drugs: The Big Business of Dope in the U.S. and Mexico

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jake

    It’s really hard for me to pass up an easy 100-page policy pamphlet, especially one by an up-and-coming politician that addresses an issue that will only see more debate in the next couple of years — drug cartels and marijuana legalization. This book is a perfect example to me of how public policy should look. Beto, a former El Paso City Councilman, presents his arguments backed by mountains of statistical evidence and almost entirely free from emotional rhetoric known to fire up voters and burn It’s really hard for me to pass up an easy 100-page policy pamphlet, especially one by an up-and-coming politician that addresses an issue that will only see more debate in the next couple of years — drug cartels and marijuana legalization. This book is a perfect example to me of how public policy should look. Beto, a former El Paso City Councilman, presents his arguments backed by mountains of statistical evidence and almost entirely free from emotional rhetoric known to fire up voters and burn down any hopes of productive discussion. Summary of the facts: Prohibition has not decreased demand for marijuana in the last 80 years. Cartels control every stage of marijuana production, keeping manufacturing costs low and prices high. Demand for marijuana is rock solid, unlike harder drugs, and provides cartels with a dependable and predictable source of revenue. Evidence shows that ending the prohibition of marijuana will reduce prices in a safe, well-regulated legal market and force cartels to lower theirs. Lack of demand for illegal marijuana would likely decrease cartel revenue streams and stimulate state and local economies. Win for the good guys. Marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug by the federal government — same as heroin and cocaine. Schedule I drugs are, by legal definition, highly addictive and have no medical benefits. Research shows that marijuana is, in fact, not highly addictive (much lower rates of dependence than alcohol and nicotine) and could have valuable therapeutic applications. Whether you want to use it or not, marijuana is — at the very least — misclassified by the DEA. Ignoring that hurts the credibility of the federal government, degrades respect for the law, and costs the U.S. billions of dollars on futile enforcement efforts and decades-long drug wars. If insanity is repeatedly doing the same thing over again and expecting different results, then it’s probably time for opinions to change.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Dan Sharber

    this was a great little book! it is short but well researched and too the point. it reminded me a lot of Are Prisons Obsolete? and i think the authors offer it in a simliar vein. i am particularly impressed that it is coming from city politicians in el paso. those working along the border came to these conclusions long ago but as the authors point out, the state and federal government want no part in a frank discussion on legalization. the war on drugs has been a spectacular failure. if you are this was a great little book! it is short but well researched and too the point. it reminded me a lot of Are Prisons Obsolete? and i think the authors offer it in a simliar vein. i am particularly impressed that it is coming from city politicians in el paso. those working along the border came to these conclusions long ago but as the authors point out, the state and federal government want no part in a frank discussion on legalization. the war on drugs has been a spectacular failure. if you are looking for a short, simple book to make the case to anyone you know who thinks we need to continue the drug war, this book is for you. if you are then looking for some more info on the racist nature of the war on drugs and the disporportional impact it has on black and brown communities then check out The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. a great companion to this book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    Supply and demand. I say legalize the "shite" and let the users OD. Sweep it up, and deal with the rest. Companies have to drug test the job seekers and can't even find enough workers to pass the drug user tests. This is BIG business, from A to Z. Our legal system, from cops to prisons, is bogged down with the cost of "illegal drugs" and the people who traffic them. They catch the perps from the high end of unproven income but money laundering is an art. Even the Spanish translator makes out (me) Supply and demand. I say legalize the "shite" and let the users OD. Sweep it up, and deal with the rest. Companies have to drug test the job seekers and can't even find enough workers to pass the drug user tests. This is BIG business, from A to Z. Our legal system, from cops to prisons, is bogged down with the cost of "illegal drugs" and the people who traffic them. They catch the perps from the high end of unproven income but money laundering is an art. Even the Spanish translator makes out (me). I agree with the premise of this book. It's a good start. It didn't even mention the tunnels under the borders, only trucks and mules. Five stars for courage.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jostalady

    This is a very short, quick book! I appreciate the information and it gives me a perspective on the drug war I hadn't understood previously. There is a lot to think about here and I have to agree with the author's conclusions that we could being unraveling this by legalizing drugs and controlling them like we do alcohol and tobacco. I am surprised Beto doesn't have a book out that helps us understand him fully as a Presidential Candidate, but you get a solid understanding of where he stands on dr This is a very short, quick book! I appreciate the information and it gives me a perspective on the drug war I hadn't understood previously. There is a lot to think about here and I have to agree with the author's conclusions that we could being unraveling this by legalizing drugs and controlling them like we do alcohol and tobacco. I am surprised Beto doesn't have a book out that helps us understand him fully as a Presidential Candidate, but you get a solid understanding of where he stands on drugs.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    Trying to read books by all of the Democratic presidential candidates I'm considering and this was the closest Beto O'Rourke had. Very interesting and felt I learned something about that region. Also better informed my views on legalization of marijuana. Trying to read books by all of the Democratic presidential candidates I'm considering and this was the closest Beto O'Rourke had. Very interesting and felt I learned something about that region. Also better informed my views on legalization of marijuana.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Diana Rosengard

    An interesting and timely policy treatise. Even though we are already in the process of legalizing marijuana at the individual state level, this short book gives a great demonstration of why legalization at the national level is a change that is not only necessary, but longer overdue.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Shannon Ellsworth

    I'm going to ditto Dan's review. Short little book. To the point. And an interesting and often not published perspective. I'm going to ditto Dan's review. Short little book. To the point. And an interesting and often not published perspective.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ed Hansen

    The first half is interesting, as they walk through the business model and value chain for illegal marijuana distribution. Granted, as a reader with an MBA, this is right up my alley. By the end, they make the comparison to alcohol and talk about what controlled use might look like. It’s a quick, easy read.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Angelika Fuller

    Quite a compelling argument!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kayla

  11. 4 out of 5

    BrendanPowers

  12. 4 out of 5

    Emilia

  13. 5 out of 5

    Angela

  14. 4 out of 5

    Komson Silapachai

  15. 5 out of 5

    Erin Seelert

  16. 5 out of 5

    Justin Time

  17. 4 out of 5

    Caryn

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jules

  21. 5 out of 5

    Richard Beard

  22. 4 out of 5

    Doug Ball

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mario Castillo

  24. 4 out of 5

    Gurband Mann

  25. 4 out of 5

    Bradley Bowen

  26. 5 out of 5

    Bill Smallwood

  27. 5 out of 5

    Emily Denby

  28. 5 out of 5

    Alissa

  29. 4 out of 5

    Joe Aguilar

  30. 5 out of 5

    Beth

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