Book Reviews

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Wall Street Journal review of the new book, Drugs Unlimited: The Web Revolution That's Changing How the World Gets High, by Mike Power


Silk Road

The first thing ever bought or sold online, according to British journalist Mike Power, was marijuana. The sale was arranged in either 1971 or 1972 between computer science students at Stanford and MIT using Arpanet, the precursor to the Internet. Today, thanks to the Web, cryptography, crypto-currencies like Bitcoin and international next-day delivery services, people around the world are buying substances far less tested than marijuana with a great deal more ease. …

Thomas Dunne Books

The federal government has spent more than a trillion dollars on prohibition since Richard Nixon declared war on drugs in 1971, and campaigning politicians love to talk tough. But voters in Washington, Colorado, Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia have made the recreational use of marijuana legal over the last couple of years. In his well-reported Drugs Unlimited: The Web Revolution That's Changing How the World Gets High, Mr. Power argues that the policy of prohibition against recreational drugs is already well on the way toward being overwhelmed by powerful market forces. …

Mr. Power isn't a Pollyanna about the danger of drugs: He writes, "it is not this book's argument that any drug is entirely safe; they demonstrably are not." Yet he makes the case that "to persist in the digital age with this failed and arbitrary strategy of prohibition in the face of all the evidence that it increases harm is irresponsibly dangerous." This book will persuade many readers that his assessment is entirely correct.

Go here to read the whole review at the Wall Street Journal.