Drug Policy

4 Industries Getting Rich Off the Drug War

Several industries owe their profit margins, market shares, and-in some cases-very existence to the war on drugs.


In a 2011 interview, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that legalization is "not likely to work" because "there is just too much money in it." Clinton was talking about cartels, but the same holds true for the legal industries that owe their profit margins, market shares, and—in some cases—very existence to the war on drugs. Here are four industries you might not realize profit off the drug war.

4.) The Drug Testing Industry

One of the highlights of President Barack Obama's 2012 Drug Control Policy report is a section encouraging drug-free workplace programs, which the report touts as "beneficial for our labor force, employers, families, and communities in general." The report also alludes to the administration's commitment to funding research for an oral drug test that can be conducted alongside a urine analysis.

An entire testing industry helped make those policies a reality, and is pushing for their expansion. One industry group, the Drugs of Abuse Testing Coalition, has spent $90,000 already in 2011-2012 lobbying for "Medicare reimbursement codes and payment rates for qualitative drug screen testing." Another group, the Drug & Alcohol Testing Industry Association, has retained the lobbying shop Washington Policy Association since at least 1999, but according to its filings, has spent less than $10,000 per year on lobbying since then. Another drug testing company, Bensinger, DuPont & Associates, was started by former director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse and former White House drug chief Robert DuPont.

These groups have successfully pushed for the passage of drug testing laws and regulations across the country, and were behind the Drug Testing Integrity Act of 2008, which made it illegal to buy, sell, manufacture, or advertise "cleansing" products that promise to help consumers "defraud a drug test." A new federal law that allows states to drug test people seeking public assistance is proving to be another boon to such companies: Florida has already spent $118,140 testing welfare applicants; or, $45,780 more than it would have spent if it had just given welfare to the 108 applicants who tested positive for drugs.

3.) The Alcohol Industry

Marijuana legalization advocates like to point out that pot is safer than alcohol, if for no other reason than no one has ever died from a marijuana overdose. They also like to point out that the booze industry has been working to subvert drug policy reform for decades, at least going back to the early 90s when the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) FOIA'd the donation records for the Partnership for a Drug-Free America and found that it had accepted large donations from Jim Beam and Anheuser Busch.

Alcohol companies were less obvious about their opposition to legalization after being outed by NORML. That lasted until September 2010, when the California Beer and Beverage Distributors donated $10,000 to a police-run campaign opposing Proposition 19, California's marijuana legalization initiative.

2.) The Private Prison Industry 

Corrections Corp. of America (CCA), the country's largest private prison company, has donated almost $4.5 million to political campaigns and dropped another $18 million on lobbying in the last two decades. The company, and others like it, is up to its elbows in drug war spending. Its facilities house low-level drug users and contain in-house rehabilitation programs. CCA even trains its own drug-sniffing dogs. In 2010, the company had revenue of $1.67 billion. Florida-based GEO Group, which has given almost $4 million in campaign contributions and spent $2.28 million on lobbying since 1999, had revenue of $1.27 billion in 2010.

Nowhere is the private prison industry's reliance on the drug war more apparent than in CCA's 2010 report to shareholders. "The demand for our facilities and services could be adversely affected by the relaxation of enforcement efforts, leniency in conviction or parole standards and sentencing practices or through the decriminalization of certain activities that are currently proscribed by our criminal laws," reads the report CCA filed with the Securities Exchange Commission.

"For instance, any changes with respect to drugs and controlled substances or illegal immigration could affect the number of persons arrested, convicted, and sentenced, thereby potentially reducing demand for correctional facilities to house them. Legislation has been proposed in numerous jurisdictions that could lower minimum sentences for some non-violent crimes and make more inmates eligible for early release based on good behavior. Also, sentencing alternatives under consideration could put some offenders on probation with electronic monitoring who would otherwise be incarcerated. Similarly, reductions in crime rates or resources dedicated to prevent and enforce crime could lead to reductions in arrests, convictions and sentences requiring incarceration at correctional facilities."

According to a report from the Justice Policy Institute, lobbyists for the private prison industry have pushed "three strikes" and "truth-in-sentencing" laws across the country. Both types of laws adversely affect drug users. 

1.) The Addiction Recovery Industry

The business of treating addiction has come a long way since Bill Wilson developed the 12 Step program in the 1930s. It's now a huge industry with deep pockets, an impressive lobbying budget, and a vested interest in paternalistic public health policies. This industry has two big policy concerns: It wants the government to direct users—both hard and recreational—into addiction treatment facilities instead of jail, and it wants the government to require insurance companies to cover addiction treatment like it would any other illness. This doesn't mean the addiction recovery industry doesn't have voluntary clients, just that it wants government to declare drug use a disease, force anyone who has it to receive very specific treatment from very specific doctors, and have a third party pay the bill.

The addiction services industry didn't get this power by wishing for it. Since 1989, addiction services trade groups and individual companies have donated a combined $869,405 to political campaigns and spent almost $5 million lobbying in order to secure direct and indirect government funding of addiction services.

The biggest player on the rehab block is Phoenix House, which was started in 1967 by six Manhattan heroin addicts. Today, Phoenix House runs 150 addiction programs in 10 states, including in-patient and out-patient programs, as well as Phoenix Academy, a series of boarding schools for substance-using teens. Much of its $100 million budget comes from earmarks and government contracts: $250,000 for Phoenix House in Springfield; $480,000 for Phoenix House in Brentwood; $650,000 for Phoenix House in Dallas; $750,000 for Phoenix House in Brooklyn. The list goes on, and on, and on. Those earmarks don't come cheap, however. Between 2002 and 2011, Phoenix House spent $1.28 million lobbying.

Phoenix House also supports the Obama Administration's most recent pledge to spend more money on (much criticized) drug courts and other diversion strategies, as nearly all such programs shuffle drug users through addiction treatment centers. The company also invited former ONDCP senior advisor Kevin Sabet to pre-emptively attack legalization advocates on the Phoenix House website the day Obama's report was released. 

The National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC), which bills itself as "the nation's largest association of addiction focused professionals," has spent $134,000 on campaign contributions and $338,000 lobbying Congress since 1995. The most notable recipient is Rep. Jim Ramstad (R-Minn.), who's received $12,000 in campaign donations from the group. Ramstad is the co-chair of both the House Addiction Treatment and Recovery Caucus and the Law Enforcement Caucus, as well as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee's Subcommittee on Health. In 2008, Ramstad was rumored to be on Barack Obama's shortlist for drug czar. He has a history of earmarking money for addiction treatment facilities and programs, and once earmarked $250,000 for Minnesota Teen Challenge, an Assembly of God-affiliated rehab program that teaches "Addiction is a sin, not a disease."

Lobbying and campaign finance data courtesy of the Sunlight Foundation's Influence Explorer

Mike Riggs is an associate editor at Reason magazine.

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  1. Prohibition has finally run its course; our prisons are full, our economy is in ruins, the lives and livelihoods of tens of millions of Americans have been destroyed or severely disrupted, and what was once a shining beacon of liberty and prosperity has become a toxic, repressive, smoldering heap of hypocrisy and a gross affront to fundamental human decency.

    It is now the duty of every last one of us to insure that the people who are responsible for this shameful situation are not simply left in peace to enjoy the wealth and status that their despicable actions have, until now, afforded them. Former and present Prohibitionists must not be allowed to remain untainted and untouched from the unconscionable acts that they have viciously committed on their fellow citizens. – They have provided us with neither safe communities nor safe streets; we will provide them with neither a safe haven to enjoy their ill-gotten gains nor the liberty to repeat such a similar atrocity!

    Prohibition has evolved local gangs into transnational enterprises with intricate power structures that reach into every corner of society, helping them control vast swaths of territory while gifting them with significant social and military resources.

    Those responsible for the shameful policy of prohibition shall not go unpunished!

    1. Prohibition has finally run its course

      Really? On what planet do you live? Prohibition exists, guided in large part by the folly of believing the only other option is alcoholism. Booze is the only intoxicant that is legal and, in many states, the state itself runs the concession.

      Even the team that talks the talk of individual responsibility wants to regulate whether you smoke a joint, all while defending practically to the death your right to get liquored up and smoke cigarettes till your lungs turn black.

      1. Wareagle,

        In the first place, I believe from context that poster Malcolm Kyle was referring to ALL kinds of Prohibition, rather than the fit of stupidity that lasted from 1920-1933.

        In the second place, SOME of us who talk about individual responsibility ardently desire to let both potheads and cigarette fiends go to hell in their own way. Please do us the favor of recognizing that there is a difference between us and the political opportunists that plague our cause.

      2. Maybe if you’d actually read the whole comment you would have realized we’re on the same page.

        Due to Prohibition (historically proven to be an utter failure at every level), the availability of most of these mood-altering drugs has become so universal and unfettered that in any city of the civilized world, any one of us would be able to procure practically any drug we wish within an hour.

        * Throughout history, the prohibition of any mind-altering substance has always exploded usage rates, overcrowded jails, fueled organized crime, created rampant corruption of law-enforcement – even whole governments, while inducing an incalculable amount of suffering and death.

        * Apart from the fact that the DEA is the de facto enforcement wing of the pharmaceutical industry, the involvement of the CIA in running Heroin from Vietnam, Southeast Asia and Afghanistan, and Cocaine from Central America has been well documented by the 1989 Kerry Committee report, academic researchers Alfred McCoy and Peter Dale Scott, and the late journalist Gary Webb.

        * It’s not even possible to keep drugs out of prisons, but prohibitionists wish to waste trillions of dollars in an utterly futile attempt to keep them off our streets.

  2. Addiction is a sin, not a disease.

    It’s neither but a “sin model” is much preferable view to a “disease model”.

  3. The “alcohol industry” really doesn’t belong in this list. There lobbying contributions are more like paying for “protection” than an attempt to profit by taking out a competitor.Hell, some drugs actually encourage alcohol consumption.

    1. That’s pretty much what I’ve thought. Just because some people used freedom of information laws to find liquor industry donations doesn’t mean they had to! That industry has usually been quite vocal about their support of anti-drug measures, both legal and hortatory. They’re afraid they’ll be seen as pro-drug just on gen’l principles unless they’re identified as anti-drug.

    2. Partnership for a Drug Free America

      Sources of Funding from 1988-91
      Extracted from Federal Tax Returns

      (figures are approximate)

      Pharmaceutical Firms

      J. Seward Johnson, Sr. Charitable Trusts — $1.1 million
      Du Pont — 125,000
      Proctor and Gamble Fund — 120,000
      Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation — 115,000
      Johnson & Johnson — 100,000
      Merck Foundation — 85,000
      Hoffman-LaRoche — 75,000

      Tobacco and Liquor Firms

      Phillip Morris — 125,000
      Anheuser-Busch — 100,000
      RJ Reynolds — 100,000
      American Brands — 100,000

      Prohibition is nothing less than a grotesque dystopian nightmare; if you support it you must be either ignorant, stupid, brainwashed, criminally insane, or totally corrupt.

  4. All four of those a minuscule compared to the public sector police-prison complex.

    1. I think Riggs is futilely trying to appeal to progressives who need a private sector boogeyman to blame for government tyranny. At least he didn’t blame the petroleum and pulpwood industries like your average weed-addled, patchouli-stinkin’ hippie.

      Liberaltarianism just won’t die as long as Reason is on the beat.

      1. So pointing out regulatory capture is a socialist plot?

      2. Just like to chime in and say that this is exactly it: I personally know a disturbing number of people who basically stopped giving a shit once The Right People (read: Obama and his merry men) were in charge, but, boy, howdy, if somebody mentions something about privately-run prisons they’ll appropriately freak the fuck out.

        Also whenever I think of this that silly Fortress movie with the Highlander and Clarence Boddicker comes to mind.

        1. I was just talking to someone else about the for-profit prisons and how the CCPOA – one of the most influential unions in California – supports them. Corporations bad, unions good? They are both on the same side so many times.

          Radley Balko had a piece pointing out that the UC, Davis cop who maced the Occupy folks still had his job thanks to the public employee union that the Occupy folks support so much.

        2. Remeber when the private prison industry were the good guys in Reason?

      3. I think private prison services pushing to increase political demand for their services is pretty disgusting.

    2. [citation needed]

  5. The US WoD spends $60B per year, which puts it around #125 on the Fortune Global 500 list. This makes it bigger than GlaxoSmithKline, Dow, Unilever, Goldman Sachs, or Rio Tinto. Such a huge enterprise is not going to go down without a major fight.

    1. Thieving this (^).
      VERY good point, and I’d never considered the comparison.
      Next time some whacko goes off on ‘big pharma’, they’re gonna get an ear-ful.

      1. Just checked: GSK’ss 2010 revenue was US$45.4Bn.

  6. Meanwhile the Daily Beast reaches new lows in stupid. Zimmerman should agree to a plea deal and spend years in prison, even though he would be acquitted by any fair jury, because if he doesn’t leftist will riot. He owes it to the country to go to prison. No kidding.


    1. “The time is now for strong hands to take the helm and steady the ship of state”

      That statement says it all. Another so called liberal, actually a statist authoritarian, praying for a tyrannical dictatorship. These folks have completely lost their minds, I don’t see how they have any relevance left at all in this country or how anyone could take them seriously.

      1. The most disgusting part is that if some rightie said that – that liberal turd would blow a gasket.

    2. so black people will automatically go into riot mode unless Zimmerman is convicted. Wow. It is always heartening to see the left’s view of minorities on display.

      Here’s what will happen: as with Casey Anthony, the state of FL has again over-reached. No one believes this was murder, 2nd degree or any other kind. A manslaughter charge, even involuntary, had a chance of getting a conviction. But the facts, as we know them, do not support murder.

      1. Which is another example of why leftists are fucking insane, John.

      2. They always overcharge in order to try and get the person to plead out. The jury will have the opportunity to convict on a lesser charge at the trial.

        1. The jury will have the opportunity to convict on a lesser charge at the trial.

          Maybe, maybe not. Some states don’t allow juries to convict on lesser un-brought charges. I don’t know if FL is one such state, but I do seem to recall someone saying it was.

    3. So what would a fair outcome look like? To my mind, the government offers Zimmerman a plea deal that has him back on the street within this decade, and he accepts it quietly. That seems like a conclusion most reasonable Americans could live with.

      So apparently the premise of his argument is that it’s more important to avoid a race war than to see justice done.

      Anyone else sick and fucking tired of being told what a “reasonable American” would or would not agree with? This is a favorite liberal ploy designed to attempt to get you to accept the original premise without thought or to make it appear that anyone thinking otherwise is a moron. Our boy Tony uses this technique constantly.

      1. If there were no uncertainty, I would agree with this sentiment (as per Watchmen) that injustice is preferable to war. War is just awful. I’d rather be alive and in one piece than that some other people be right. Consider: In war they draft loads of innocent people to get killed; this hypothetical concerns sacrificing only one person, and not even killing him, to avoid war.

        But there is uncertainty, IRL as well as in Watchmen, so the judgment isn’t that simple. Can’t dismiss it out of hand, however.

      2. Anyone else sick and fucking tired of being told what a “reasonable American” would or would not agree with?

        I wouldn’t mind it if they simply added another qualifier, namely, evil. It is quite reasonable for an evil individual to be willing to sacrifice someone else for them. For those who are not evil, however, sacrificing others is not reasonable.

    4. So what would a fair outcome look like? To my mind, the government offers Zimmerman a plea deal that has him back on the street within this decade, and he accepts it quietly. That seems like a conclusion most reasonable Americans could live with. Of course, no matter how long or short any sentence may be, there will be those who disagree, some vehemently.

      If I recall my history correctly, appeasing the mob was the reason some local cops and sheriffs gave when lynch mobs showed up outside of their jails looking for black people to hang. So it’s really entertaining that Frazier, a black man, seems so keen on appeasing the mob in this particular situation.

    5. where is the Pres. to step up and say the media is ‘acting stupidly’?

  7. I hate to tell Riggs this but the drug testing industry would do better under legalization. If drugs were legal, more employers would feel the need to test. And just because drugs are legal doesn’t mean people on parole or probation would be allowed to use them. The drug testing industry wins either way.

    1. You could be right, but I think that legalization might change employers minds, at least about weed, and in time, few of them would see a need drug test at all.

      1. Yeah, because a lot of employers who aren’t gas stations or tattoo parlors want their employees showing up blitzed out of their minds and causing their liability insurance rates to go through the stratosphere.

        1. If you need to test an employee’s body fluids to tell if he’s using drugs, then his drug use isn’t causing a problem.

          1. ever hear of ‘functioning alcoholics’?

      2. Even currently, every employer I have applied to work at or have worked for do not have it out to fire employees for weed. In fact, my last job in its “drug policy” portion of the employment agreement listed “Marijuana” SEPARATE from all other “Drugs.” Keep in mind, while working for the private sector I have NEVER been required to take a drug test for employment. My most recent employment required one, but I have been working here for almost 2 years and still have not taken one either time they asked.

    2. That would be true, but only for a short while. The reason is that drug testing’s value is to (inefficiently) weed out (heh) the deviant and disobedient. To the extent drug testing works, it is as a proxy measure of such things, not a direct test of danger or laziness or inattention. It won’t take long after legaliz’n for use of the formerly illegal substances (pot, mostly) to cease entirely to be a marker for deviance or disobedience, and drug testing will be quietly abandoned.

  8. Come on people, think of the public sector jobs that we’d lose if drugs were legalized.

    Why do you hate the children?

    1. All Libertarians by their very nature, hate the children, and puppy dogs, and Jesus too. Oh, I forgot, and brown people, and wimin folk.

      1. You’re both wrong. Most libertarians love children. It’s just that we can’t agree whether they should be served with white wine or red wine.

        1. I’m in the girls with white, boys with red camp.

        2. And then there’s the Roast vs. BBQ argument…..

          1. Obviously if you have the time and weather you BBQ. You get a nice crispy skin with a rotessorie. Helps to baste.

          2. So a libertarian and small child are walking to a BBQ at night trough some woods. The child says “gee, this is scary”. The libertarian replies “Think about me? I have to walk back all by myself” Ba dooom boom.

            1. I like mine with Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce and a tall glass of Jagermeister and Coke.

              1. I remember spending an hour reducing down this favorite bbq sauce recipe I had and it was totally awesome. Than someone told me about Sweet Baby Ray’s. Tasted just as good. I no longer bother making BBQ sauce. You can keep the Jager though. I don’t get the hype over that at all.

                1. A matter of taste, I’ll admit… but I’ve liked it for well over a decade, so at least I’m not drinking it ironically, hipster-style.

                  I get weird looks when I order it mixed at a bar, that’s for sure. Most people quaff it by the shot at bars.

                  Breckenridge Vanilla Porter goes well with children, btw. Great beer/human flesh pairing.

                  1. Yeah, I’m a big Porter fan as well. I’ve been wanting to try that Breckenridge. I need to make a point to start looking out for it.

                2. I’ll give you a recipe for a great sauce — sort of a relish, not a cooking sauce. Mince red radishes and garlic, 2:1. Mix with just enough mayonnaise (regular or low fat, but not no-fat substitute) to wet it. Chill for desired length of time; it gets wetter and stronger as you wait. It goes with every kind of meat I’ve tried — mammal, bird, or fish — and probably others I haven’t — hot or cold — but gives you gas at both ends.

                  As to the choice between barbecue and roasting, whether you’re eating humanitarian or otherwise, why choose? Yesterday I charcoal-roasted a chicken in a domed kettle barbecue. You put the coals on one side, the chicken on a grill over the other side, and cover. Close the damper once the coals are all caught. Takes 2 hours, more or less (depending on the size of the bird), and tastes deliciously smoky, and not salty like commercial brined “smoked” meats.

                  1. That relish recipe is very peculiar. I would have never come up with that. I’ll give it a shot though.

                    1. Just make sure you mince the radishes, and don’t grind or mash them. The juice that comes out of them is much stronger from cut surfaces than from crushing. The garlic you can crush if mincing’s too much trouble.

            2. And of course, the libertarian is walking through the woods, because there are NO ROADZ!!1!1!1ONEone

              1. + Somolia

                1. Wait… “HermanLame”? Isn’t that one of shrike’s favorite phrases?

                  Oh, and AJB… Breckenridge makes a mean bock, as well.

                  1. Good to know. Thanks for the tip.

                    1. It’s from Colorado, so hopefully they distribute in your area… we can get it in Missouri, so if they’re smart they’ll be in your state as well.

  9. I once had a colleague – a psychiatrist who ran a heroin rehab unit – tell me that the “only true cure for these addicts is a bullet between the eyes.” It was a bit indelicate but it expressed well the insight any honest, minimally-percipient person who has been involved in drug “rehabilitation” programs gains about these bullshit revolving-door circle jerks.

    1. The guy who writes under the pseudonym Theodore Dalrymple is a psychiatrist in the British prison system. He claims there is no such thing as “drug addiction”. What we have are people who are irresponsible and or criminal and thus use drugs in irresponsible ways and use their “addiction” as a way to justify their criminal behavior.

      The bottom line is that some people are just reprobates and criminals. If drugs disappeared tomorrow, they would still be reprobates and criminals. They would just have to find another excuse for their behavior besides their “disease”.

      1. I think TD is full of shit. There are way too many alcoholics who are the opposite of criminals – they are productive, generally decent members of society who are simply incapable of having a single drink. They want to have 10. Their only recourse is to stay away entirely.

        Are the folks who get hooked in pain meds irresponsible, too? How about smokers, arguably the largest group of addicts known? Just saying that people who abuse some drug are not necessarily criminals.

        1. Very true

        2. The same thing that is true of drinkers is true of pot smokers. They are otherwise law abiding citizens. Pot addiction is no worse and perhaps even less addictive than tobacco and alchohol. Narcotics obviously are a different ballgame when it comes to addiction.

        3. Smokers the largest group of “addicts”? They weren’t even called “addicts” until recently! Which among smokers are the “abusers” of whatever they’re smoking? Clearly these terms have no objective meaning.

      2. He claims there is no such thing as “drug addiction”

        That would make him completely full of shit. Some drugs are very addictive, as evidenced by the withdrawal symptoms.

        I don’t buy into the disease theory though. Sure some people are more likely to become addicted, but anyone will become addicted if they use enough of the addictive substance.

        1. and you could also make the case that many are addictive by design. No sense in having a product without some expectation of return customers.

        2. Can they scientifically explain a physical dependency, or is this just like psychiatry?

        3. Withdrawal is overhyped to scare children. So called addicts don’t use a substance to avoid withdrawal, but because they like it.

          1. Yeah, go smoke crack everyday for 3 months and than quit. Shouldn’t be a problem with your superior will power and all. Just make sure you have plenty of cash on hand first so you don’t end up selling all your belongings.

            1. And you have experienced this first hand? Second? Or you get your stories from the media?

              1. The drug that got me by the balls was the good old quaalude which I’m sure dates me a little. I was young, the only real procession I had was my guitar which I loved, but not enough o keep me from trading it in for some lude powder. That’s was right before my friends, all drug users, intervened and got me into rehab which probably saved my life since I had quit eating. I was lucky enough later on to be adequately warned off from doing crack. A couple of acquaintances of mine not so much. They went downhill fast on crack. One of them was the son of a local mayor, excellent student and athlete, and had quite a few nice possessions including a new camaro. Had, being the opportune word. I heard a number of similar stories through friends and other acquaintances over the years. So first hand on the power of addiction, second and third on crack specifically.

              2. The drug that got me by the balls was the good old quaalude which I’m sure dates me a little. I was young, the only real procession I had was my guitar which I loved, but not enough o keep me from trading it in for some lude powder. That’s was right before my friends, all drug users, intervened and got me into rehab which probably saved my life since I had quit eating. I was lucky enough later on to be adequately warned off from doing crack. A couple of acquaintances of mine not so much. They went downhill fast on crack. One of them was the son of a local mayor, excellent student and athlete, and had quite a few nice possessions including a new camaro. Had, being the opportune word. I heard a number of similar stories through friends and other acquaintances over the years. So first hand on the power of addiction, second and third on crack specifically.

                1. Thanks squirrels, and thats after having to replace parenthesis with commas and taking out apostrophes to stop getting the 50 charactor error.

                  1. I will add that just because I was addicted to that drug at that time in my life that I do still think recreational drug use is possible and should be legal. As I mentioned earlier, MJ is no more additive than cigerettes and though I was addicted to it at one ponit I had since done it recreationally years after I had quit with no problem. I have also done coke recreationaly with no problem. I have however never met a recreational crack or heroin user. I’d be interested if anyone here has?

                    1. There are lots of recreational crack and heroin users in south florida.

                    2. Just so you’re aware Jack. Outside of south Florida, people don’t consider carjacking tourist and whoring to support one’s habit “recreational”:)

          2. You can physically die from alcohol or benzo withdrawal. That’s not bullshit. That’s physical failure from withdrawing a chemical from the body.

            1. Yeah, I saw an old guy going through alcohol withdraw. His whole body was shaking so bad he kept almost tipping over the wheelchair he was in. He was in serious bad shape.

            2. I watched my ex have a grand mal seizure because he hadn’t had anything to drink that day. The second seizure, when he was already in the hospital, caused him to fall down and bash his head, sending him to ICU. So yeah, I have first-hand knowledge of alcohol withdrawal. It’ll kill you.

              (epilogue: the ex died 9 months later from liver failure)

  10. 5) The Libertarian Periodical Industry

    Admit it!

    1. 6) The Recreational Drug Industry.

      (Should actually be #1.)

    2. “5) The Libertarian Periodical Industry”

      Cops will just find another reason to break down your door and shoot your dog so they should be good.

  11. Drugs are addictive, no matter what. Staring with small ones, which can be bought the in the grocery store and to the top – don’t want to mention them, I’m familiar and so is the community.

  12. I wonder if reason drug tests their employees.

    1. LOL – yeah, it’s an essay exam on “Which Drugs Give The Most Awesome Highs?” and all their employees passed.

    1. Try going a week without it.

      1. lol:)

        1. Ask Michael Moore to give up his between-snack meals for a full 24 hours.

  13. If 1, 2 and 4 stand to lose money from pot legalization than I guess most of the arguments against legalization are bullshit (which we already knew). Legalization is supposed to increase drug use and we’ll have addicts everywhere. Other than court-ordered treament (which is mainly dui related anyways) that should be a boom to the rehab industry. Also, legalization is supposed to cause crime to increase. On the NGEO Weedtv show one of the opponents of MM dispenseries in that particular town (their ex-mayor) claimed a 40% increase in crime since the dispenseries opened for business. Of course he pulled that number out of his ass but an increase in crime should be a boon to the prison guards union, right? As far as drug teasting goes. Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean your employer is going to allow it. More and more companies are prohibiting their employees from smoking. Not just at work but period. No reason to think that is going away and with the increase chance that someone would now be doing drugs since drug use is supposeed to explode that would seem to suggest an increase in testing. As far as rent seeking from the alchohol industry, I don’t see them willing to fight it all that much considering their product.

  14. “Clinton was talking about cartels”

    Are you sure she wasn’t talking about the DOJ?

  15. Fine article. Now please write one about the money being made off the anti-smoking Crusade.

  16. If I wrote this article I would have added a fifth idustry to that list: the Colombian Cartel.

    1. Any cartel, not just the Colombians. Fuck, the Taliban is filthy with opium money.

      But I think state & local law enforcement agencies should be on this list. They’re rolling in dirty drug money from all sides – zero tolerance seizures & asset forfeitures plus that sweet, sweet “homeland security” cash and equipment. I’d put law enforcement as #1 on this list. Most of their funding would dry up if not for the WoD.

  17. A wonderful sop to statists who need a private industry boogieman to check under their bed for, but the biggest industry to get rich and powerful off of the War on Drug-Users is government. Cops get trailer trucks of free money and weapons to turn against citizens, courts have carved out exceptions in which the 4th Amendment doesn’t exist when drugs are concerned and the Bureau of Prisons has grown into a behemoth, so much so that it can contract incarceration to private prisons.

    Nice to see Riggs hacking at branches instead of at the root.

    1. But AC if they weren’t spendings hundreds of billions of dollars a year fighting the WOD than you would be able walk in any bar and buy drugs and high school kids would have no problem buying drugs at school. Oh wait….

    2. Team Blue, in theory, should be all over the WoD, trying to kill it off… but, as they prove time and time again, they are just as bad at micromanaging adult existence as Team Red.

      1. Both the WOD and the WOT increae the size, scope, and power of the government. If you’re a socialist that is a feature, not a bug. The increased government union membership is icing on the cake.

        1. Another reason to not let public-sector unions exist.

          1. Unfortuantely that is a very steep uphill battle. Most people don’t see the forest through the trees.

            1. I’ve tried to explain the farcical nature of letting one group of government employees negotiate their compensation with another group of government employees, with the power to forcibly extract their compensation from a third-party (the public) via budget and taxation, and have been met with blank stares or gainsaying (nuh-uh!).

              I hate people, so very, very much. And I hate the 50 character word limit, too.

              1. Yeah, I just spent 5 minutes trying to post something and kept getiting that error. I took out parenthisis and apostrophes and it worked. Commas and periods seem to be ok. Aslong as we have this media myth about the selflessness and heroism of teachers, cops, and firefighters its going to be tough to break through that emotional argument.

                1. Looks like your parenthesis worked ok. oh well, I ‘m not gonna try and figure it out.

              2. Not to mention the kickbacks in the form of campaign contributions as well as the guarenteed voting block.

      2. This. The opposition to liberalizing PA’s liquor laws (so that you can buy liquor at a privately owned store that’s open outside bank hours) is pretty much entirely from Team Blue.

  18. I’m always amazed at how small the lobbying contributions seem compared to the profits reaped by these industries. Cronyism really does pay.

  19. I think it’s more than that – the biggest one that benefits are pharmaceutical companies and doctors.

    Watch TV – see how many ads there are for prescription drugs. Some are aimed at people with obvious problems, like the people who have to use the bathroom a lot, but others are more general – use this drug and you can do the exciting things shown in the commercial.

    1. Because marijuana cures high cholesterol, depression, impotence, high blood pressure, and PMS. It’s all a Big Pharma conspiracy.

      1. Hallucinogens have so many medical benefits to alleviate suffering it’s pretty much criminal that there banned.

  20. Speaking of private prisons, salon has a timely article about many of them renting out their prisoners for labor.

    1. The work done by prisoners has always been a ripe field of corruption; hardly a surprise that private prisons do it too.

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  23. Efforts will always be a return

  24. This suggests a strategy for the end-the-drug-war activists: pitch the drug testing and rehab industries the idea that when legalized their business is likely to increase, not decrease…encourage the alcohol industry to diversify (start growing weed!)…and attack the prison industry as the scourge of the earth that they are. IMO, the prison industry should be flat-out illegal…they prosper when crime increases, so they have a vested interest in encouraging people to commit crimes. That industry allne is probably responsible for emboldening the other three to take the anti-drug stand that they are and not see the benefits in legalization.

  25. How about the BILLIONS of dollars our government wastes every year on personnel in the DEA and police forces to restrict our freedom to do with our bodies what we wish? Plus the collateral damage the war on drugs has done to foreign countries like Mexico and Columbia…all because some puritanical maniacs are hell bent on restricting freedom and liberty guaranteed to us in the constitution. It is time for the self righteous fanatics to pull their noses out of everyone else’s behinds and leave them alone. If you want to cripple the organized crime involved in peddling drugs overnight, legalize them all and regulate them, just like alcohol. We have already tried prohibition in this country before and it resulted in the same type of situation we see today. This war on drugs is nothing more than a war on We The People!

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