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Arts & Culture

'Dealing Death and Drugs' delivers strong case for legal weed

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Obviously, the damage wrought by the drug trade and bi-national War on Drugs stretches far beyond the trafficking nexus of Juárez/El Paso. The authors overlook, for instance, the shame of the U.S. prison system, where nearly one out of 100 residents are behind bars — the highest incarceration rate in the world — thanks, in large part, to the Drug War. And while the case for legalization in Dealing Death is strong, the takeaway for U.S. pot smokers is also clear: if you aren't growing your own, those profiting from your business likely have a mass grave or two they don't want you to think about. But Byrd closes the 104-page work offered in the best tradition of political pamphleteering with a mother's plea. "If current drug policy has not successfully shielded my children from the ability to access drugs, how can I — how can we — support a policy that accepts the terror in Juarez, the drug-trade killings in U.S. inner-cities and the absolute waste of billions of taxpayer dollars as collateral damage in a way that is supposedly being waged to keep drugs out of the hands of our kids?"

It's a message that is sure to resonate with others if this small tract can gain public notice beyond the reaches of the border, where residents are already intimately acquainted with the price of prohibition. •

Dealing Death and Drugs: The Big Business of Dope in the U.S. and Mexico
Beto O'Rourke and Susie Byrd
Cinco Puntos Press
$12.95, 104 pages

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