NOAM CHOMSKY ON DRUGS: Vancouver and the Chickens Coming Home to Roost

With the startling number of drug-related/gang-related shooting deaths/hits in Vancouver—ah, peaceful Vancouver—over the last couple of months, I found myself misquoting something I quoted a year or so ago in a long research essay I did called Noam Chomsky On Drugs (pg 30).

It was this:

Indeed, the criminal drug trade is protected by ‘legitimate’ society’s support for its continued criminalization. By definition, the trade would be largely defeated by decriminalization—while admittedly still not curing the problem of addiction.

Either way, in terms of profit-making ventures in a profit-oriented world of, at times, inconceivable inequity, the lure of narcotrafficking profits are overwhelming. Kash Heed, Chief Constable of West Vancouver, lays out the extraordinary market potential of opium:

“The price paid to a Pakistani farmer for opium is approximately $90 a kilo. The wholesale price in Pakistan is almost $3000. The North American wholesale price is $80,000. On the street at 40% purity, the retail price is $290,000 (World Drug Report, 1997)…

People making vast profits from the drug market distance themselves from the activities on the street. They do not commit the crimes themselves, they manage criminal enterprises…Cutting off the supply at times is hopeless. The drug business is simply too profitable.

A report in the National Post (Aug 17, 2007) discussed an RCMP annual report on organized crime that stated the number of gangs in Canada had increased from 800 in 2006 to 950 in 2007:

“Wherever there is profit to be made, organized crime can be found,” the study said. The illegal drug trade still makes up the bulk of organized crime activity in Canada, with about 80 per cent of all gangs involved in it.”

There’s too much money involved for the trade to be stopped, the main people aren’t stopped, disease spreads and crime continues.

Man, what does it take to see that one’s moral issue against the regulation or decriminilization of drugs (not even the legalization of drugs) is in lock-step with the drug lords and drug dealers, and war-funding hawks of the world—whether one admits that or not?

And this is just one aspect of the paradox. Ah, the disaster of drugs, on countless levels.

May you be intoxicated by life, love, and other abstractions,

Pete xox


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