Drug War's Underbelly Examined By National Public Radio

Kudos to the producers and editors at National Public Radio for the second time in a week for examining parts of the drug war’s underbelly, notably the economics of cannabis under prohibition and the immense problems created in America’s criminal justice system by its over reliance on  informants.

Annually, over $30 billion in local, county, state and federal tax revenues don’t find their way to public tax coffers because the government continues to prohibit rather than tax cannabis-related businesses, products and services. To make matters worse, an estimated $300-$400 million is paid out annually by law enforcement to confidential informants and snitches.
Another Public Broadcast Corporation entity, the long-running documentary series Frontline, performed an important public service when it broadcast Snitch in 1999.
In a free society guided by a constitution that secures numerous rights and privilege to individuals–with checks and balances on government power–the over reliance of snitches by American law enforcement is yet another terrible outgrowth attributable to a 73-year old public policy, cannabis prohibition, that has failed to the point where even greater government atrocities are justified to maintain the failed policy.

0 thoughts

  1. Please lets end this war. would sure be nice to have some friends comming to my door again,or be able to talk to and trust my neighbors,and get along with my family.This issue is tearing our nation apart.

  2. The cops need job security, money, money, money, even if it hurts, so long if it hurts us and not them, after all they have families to feed, not to mention all the cool things they get to do like carry guns, bully human beings, to get the respect they deserve but never got on the high school football team.
    To Protect and to Serve, the corporation!!!

  3. my thoughts on this are up and down. i feel that there are other drugs out there that still need to be gone. of course i am pro weed the war on pot is stupid but i still dont believe other drugs like cocaine, meth, etc. should be legal. i just dont. i know its contradictory for me to be for legalization and be an actavist for pot but not for the other ones. but my point is even if pot was legal paying ci’s to bring drug dealers down i think would still be needed so idk dont hate me for it but thats just wut i think

  4. I hope those people have a good time spending crooked money, an hope they sleep well at nite. They r the fucking crooks

  5. As the coming economic crunch comes , we will see much more of this . People will be demanding the reduction of federally funded programs,if not the outright end to them.

  6. In 45 Years Of Growing & Consuming Cannabis I’ve Only Twice Had Any Contact With Law Enforcement & In Both Cases This Contact Was Caused By Snitches, Neither Of Which I Knew Myself, But Were Friends (Misnomer) Of Friends. I Managed To Avoid Any Major Jail Time In Both Cases, But I Paid A Very High Price (Literally) In The Money Wasted To Defend Myself & Over $100,000 Illegally Confiscated (Blatant Theft). I Chose Not To Be Filled With Anger Or Hatred, But To This Day I Think That The Only Activities That Are Lower Than Snitching, Are Rape, Domestic Violence, Child Abuse Or Pedophilia. I Believe This Insane Prohibition Is Now Only About The $Millions Paid To The Various Addicted To This Blood Money Bureaucracies Who Administer This Continuing Insanity In Protecting The Poisoning & Polluting Corporations Who Would Soon Exist Only In The History Books Should Hemp & Cannabis Ever Become Decriminalized.

  7. Mr. St. Pierre, the third person singular neuter possessive pronoun is “its”, and not “it’s”, which is the contraction for “it is”.

  8. I love NPR. Maybe they would be willing to help NORML get the truth about cannabis out to the masses. I know their listener size may not be what the major networks are but they do reach a very well educated market. Advertising with them may be less expensive and target a market you haven’t reached in a while. They seem to understand that cannabis prohibition has created many ill effects on our society. They also seem to have morals unlike the MSM.

  9. Don’t stop at cannabis, MDMA and mushrooms need to be legal too! They both have powerful therapeutic properties aside from being rave drugs.

  10. Health and Self-Preservation Tip: If law enforcement ever approach you (or a loved one) regarding a cannabis-related offense, and then seek to recruit you to became a confidential informant or a snitch, ‘just say no’ as your life (or that of a loved one) may be in danger.

  11. Caught this on the radio Thursday, thanks for bringing it to others attention Mr. St. Pierre.
    I do have to wonder if NPR’s attention to this subject matter will fade just as quickly as it has surfaced.
    That’s disgusting PressureKook #10. Hope those trash collector’s get their due pay back karma promptly.
    And you’re not alone on the “get along with my family” #2 William. Maybe knowing you’re not the only one will help somewhat because I know it hurts the heart.
    There are plenty of ex friends that I’ve said see you later too because they support Prohibition.
    How any person with a brain cannot figure out the travesty of Prohibition after looking at the facts has no place in my life.

  12. The drug war needs its snitches because no one files complaints with the police for acts stemming from consensual behavior.
    The drug war also needs its surveillance, its entrapment, its lie sheets and testiliars, erosion of 4th Amendment protections, corruption of public officials, big-dollar contracts, piss testing industry, trigger-happy SWAT teams and a propaganda bureau (ONDCP) to operate.
    The drug war needs too much. All for a behavior that doesn’t merit reporting as far as a lot of people are concerned.

  13. The main reason people get busted, other than stupidity, is that there are those unable to simply keep their mouths shut. Saying, “I smoked with that guy once,” to someone you think can be trusted, is an example. Police are very good at putting together fragments of information, bits and pieces that by themselves are of no significance. Even a glance or a grin can be all it takes to complete a picture marking someone to end up busted. Cops set around coffee shops sharing this information. The next time they pull that person over cops just say they smelled something, then conduct their search. When there is a willing seller and a willing buyer there will be a business transaction. The only way police can get involved in this closed transaction is when someone runs their mouth. Virtually all busts could be avoided if people just kept their mouths shut and minded their own business. As for “rats,” they usually get what they have coming in this life, and never avoid it in the next.

  14. Informants and snitches are doing the same thing, risking their lives. I say this because as a POW of this war on drugs I know I was snitched on and know who did it (discovery papers). When “not if” the Govt. begins to fall apart from the trillions of dollars of debt we have aquired, I know who Im gunning for, and I know that their are many others that feel the same way. This person ruined my life, jail, lost job, inhome detention, and probation, that dont even touch the heart break of having your 3 children taken by CPS for over a month for “endangering” them because I had a plant in my home. For all the anger and greif on my shoulders caused by this snitch, when the world changes the right direction for me to rite my injustice, I will have blood on my hands.

  15. Response to #4. Less than 100 years ago all so called drugs were legal. People grew whatever they wanted and self medicated as they saw fit. The problems you see with drugs today are direct spinoff from prohibition. Big Pharma (DuPont) needs you taking synthetics over natural God made gifts. You cant reinvent the wheel and your surely not smarter than who created all the world and EVERYTHING in it?
    Response to #8: Shut the F*** Up!

  16. In the Operation GreenRx Funding Documents they asked for 50,000$ snitch money (CI) that would be added to any money the SDPD had available.
    And I thought that I had read some caselaw from Santa Cruz where under “homeland security” or “patriot act” a bank teller go a percentage of the take when she called in that someone’s money smelled like marijuana. I tried to find it in the homeland security act but couldn’t. Does anybody know where to find that? I am on facebook or sunnysky23 at yahoo

  17. Out the box thought with a question.
    President Obama has said he’d not ever consider legalizing cannabis. We all know that he laughed at the question on several occasions in fact he blamed all of us here of hijacking his online forums in the past. Now what if you knew for a fact and had solid proof in hand that one weekend a month he and his associates throw cool parties and smoke pot. Let’s say you also knew that their supplier was the DEA!
    Using this fake scenario for thinking purposes only, would you rat out if you knew you’d never ever get found out about?
    No was my thought because…it’s still rat’ in out.

  18. #4 (twisted)
    I makes total sense to be pro-cannabis and against legalization of harder drugs. What I think gets lost in the debate is the role regulation would play in a post-Drug War world. We don’t regulate aspirin the same as morphine. We wouldn’t regulate meth the same as cannabis. It’s obvious the Drug War model of criminalizing addicts and relying on the criminal justice system isn’t preventing people from getting addicted to drugs. Now imagine a future with state run “Drug Clinics” (for the lack of a better term) that provides drugs to addicts. No, it wouldn’t be completely removed from the streets; but there would be a dramatic reduction of demand on the streets for it. Many hard drug addicts will be off the street and using in a clinical setting where their health can be monitored and their actions can be separated from the general public. Addicts will begin to trust the system more now that they aren’t being hunted and in fact are being provided with their drugs and a safe place to use, thus making it easier to get them help getting off of the drugs. The purity and dosage will be controlled and clean needles will be used; so you will see a reduction in accidental overdoses and needle-borne illnesses. This coupled with cannabis legalization would cripple drug dealing organizations all across North America. Prohibition doesn’t work. Regardless of what the substance is. These substances are not going to go away. We have to rethink how we deal with these drugs. If we can reduce the demand on the streets and increase the safety for users and non-users alike; we would be lightyears ahead of what the Drug War prohibition has accomplished.

  19. When it comes time to meet your maker can you explain how you thought it right to lock up his other children when they commited no crime against you or threatened your property. Or how it is ok to blackmail that person into committing crimes for you or do your shady deceptive work for you in the name of the “law”.
    And they call us criminals.

  20. # 21 – P.O.W – NO !!! You will only lower yourself to their despicable level.
    I too was snitched on in 1968 by my neighbor across the street whom I barely knew. I even think Norm Stamper was the Narc who got me in San Diego, but I’ve forgiven him and the other idiots. Please try to do the same.
    Mr. Stroup put it well, “As for “rats,” they usually get what they have coming in this life, and never avoid it in the next.”
    His statement does depend on beliefs however for the moment find some comfort in it P.O.W., please.

  21. Here’s a well kept secret for anyone running into legal problems with feds. A person busted by federal government employee(s) can sue, in civil court, the arresting agent(s) and by law the employer (fed’s) can not assist monetarily, offer case advise or intervene and the agent(s) is rendered legally alone to handle the lawsuit by himself/herself. All costs of the case including the agent’s attorney(s) are paid by the agent(s) being sued. At no time can the agent request assistance from the agency he works for neither for support or evidence related to the civil lawsuit and doing so would be a violation of federal regulations.

  22. Its because people like this guy have no touch with reality, like sorry to say that remaining 1/3 of America who has no internet
    “Let’s be honest. This would be an attempt to legalize marijuana,” Schwab said Wednesday. “It has no benefit for pain management. All it does is make you crave another bag of chips.”

  23. When alcohol was prohibited, the streets flowed with the blood of gangsters AND law enforcement. That prohibition only lasted 10 years. I’m not saying we should start stabbing cops for taking our weed during traffic stops or that we should form hit squads to eliminate anyone foolish enough to have their picture taken with confiscated grass, only that bullies never let you out of a head lock because you ask them to. You have to make them work too hard to keep you in it.

  24. If you’ve never checked out this website you may want to. Might be a good idea too for someone in Orange County to direct the trash collectors that have been recruited to read it. Snitches mean nothing to LEO and are truly used and abused and then discarded, kinda like trash.
    http://www.snitching.org/

  25. Another good documentary produced by the good folks at PBS is “Tulia, Texas.” It explores how the drug war is affecting race relations. I highly recommend checking it out.

  26. thanks, Lea
    Im not a violent person, and with time will heal. I do agree that they will get whats comming to them, when they one day meet the maker they will have to answer to him for the destruction of so many lives. I was just in a rant, and have not had the time to heal, the injuries I occured was from a supposed “friend”. This person knew my children, wife, and I and still had the gull to have me incriminated to try and save himself from a self inflicted criminal resposibility that was not even drug related. I just find it dispicable that there are people willing to ruin someones life to save thier own skin. What I was doing hurt nobody, he on the other hand beat his wife. But in the end I am doing more time and am paying the price for his disgusting actions.
    I agree with the fact that this country needs to see drastic change, the drug war not only ruins lives but also causes social distrust.

  27. HAHAHA, since when do the politicians in our government give a dam about the U.S. Constitution. Just look at all the laws and bills that pass that go against our constitution. Like Eminent Domain, which allows the governent to TAKE anyones land and compensate them with $. The Good Ol USA is dead. We live in the New Less free America with politicians who only care about themselves, money and power. I think once the older generation dies off, we’ll finally get some things done.

  28. please nothing is going to happen especially since so many americans in power actually want to curb our freedoms not expand them which is why cannabis legalization will never happen unless we advocated for legalization escalate this movement
    when those in power harm and hurt so many of its citizens its time we pay back these organizations in kind
    the govt is regulating and criminalizing things they have no right. they delve in to millions of lives in the fact that those in govt believe that gays shouldnt get married, this is the same with cannabis regulation, who are they to say what people do with their personal lives, and the choices they make especially when it holds no consequences to anyone.
    the govt has no right to regulate the free will of the people

  29. Just got bitched out by my Pain Mismanagement Dr for taking 2 marinols at once and for smoking weed. (i have aids and live in Florida) I guess the copious amounts of opium laden products on offer are more American.
    Cant wait to move to California

  30. Thanks for responding #35 P.O.W. – I’ve read your comments for some time here and “know” you from those comments. Your anger is justifiable, very much so, however, look for the moment in this arse holes life when the pay back comes to him and then feel your satisfaction from that. There are people I’d like to see dead, but I’m not the one who’s going to hasten that moment, just rejoice in it.
    Reporting on snitches is important NORML, and thank you for doing so. Everyone needs to keep it in the front of their mind what otherwise “good” people will do if you just push the wrong button on them. Be careful fellow cannabis reformers.

  31. it’s like back when capone was alive and ran the goverment or the mob did, only know it’s pot . the older ones got there alchol and caner sticks legal so it will stay the same. wrong i hope it chances and chances fast. from the president down to city hall there all a bunch a low lifes liveing of the tax payers.

  32. Wow, lots of things going on here. A few things to think about.
    In the 60’s/70’s “Methodone” clinics didn’t deter heroine addicts from useing. They were just an easier and legal way to get “higher”. Something like a “Meth” clinic wouldn’t work either. I don’t have the answer but I know, from personal experience, it won’t work.
    To anyone whose lives have been “devastated” in ANY way by Heroine or Meth, you know what I am talking about.
    As for the comment about those “old” people that prefer their alcohol and cancer sticks I must add, I lived through the 60’s era (so I am not “young”) however, the majority of “Older” people I know prefer Marajuana to alcohol, and certainly to “cancer sticks”. Let’s get facts together.
    Our generation could do more to help legalize Marijuana if the majority of them weren’t so damn scared of loosing their “status and possessions. I’d galdly go to jail to defend my right to use any natural substance, especially marijuana, if it didn’t harm me, or, especially anyone else.
    I feel a lot of strong emotions here. Why not turn our anger, hatred, fear and resentment into something positive and loving and fight this war. These emotions are 100 times stronger and more effectivfe than anhyghing negative.
    Peace

  33. K.I. This blog is not only a place to vent but a place to learn from. Personal experience speaks volumes yes, however, some people are prone to abusing “drugs”, some are not. Let’s help those that are prone to abuse meth, heroin and the like by Harm Reduction, period.
    While I strive to be peaceful and loving it’s not always possible. I won’t hurt anyone but by golly they won’t mess with me either. And our generation is trying to right the wrong, and pick up the ball where we dropped it. Only this time I’m kicking that frakking ball outta the park.

  34. Time to end by marching to Washington, D.C. Be aggressive. Show them we are very tired of their b.s. We tell them we want anti-marijuana laws repealed permanently. Make loud noise. We need over a million protesters to march to Washington, D.C. Make loud noise!!!!

  35. What happened to govt ‘ of the people,for the people,by the people?’
    We are sheep being fleeced every year.
    Once in a while we see a different face on the ‘farm hand’ doling put slop to the pigs in DC ,
    But nothing changes. (added by Mobile using Mippin)

  36. I am a farmer from the midwest where the wild hemp grows prolific enough to help nourish a multitued of wild birds and animals. When times get dry it helps if only phycologically. My number was up when the cops seen me driving a new vehicle just like the one the tax payers bought the (oinkers). the pigs of prohibition hired a SNITCH to watch me. And as sure as pigs can`t fly they took my vehicle, went to my farm while I was in jail and basically wiped me out. Plus I lost my hunting rights,voting rights, driving priveledges, and any hope of a job because I am now a convicted felon. WE can still prevail in our cause.the pen is mightier than the sword (or guns,or handcuffs, or jail) After 40 years of my blood, sweat,and tears I will not go down softly into that GOOD NIGHT!! VIVA REVOLUTION.

  37. The drug war is merely a vehicle to usurp our rights guarenteed by the bill of rights. the cops can take all that you have ,children,money,home all in the name of the drug war. our country is becoming a lot like cuba. we have some freedom until they take it away in the name of the drug war. I call it war on citizens. we must stop the DEA and fire all the agents,cops,judges,lawyers and prison guards that reap the benefits of cannabis prohibition. donate to NORML and MPP and call your senators and congressmen and tell them that you will use your vote to fire their asses! fuel the fire and smoke more cannabis.

Leave a Reply