This year's UN World Drug Report offers staggering information about drugs around the world. Findable as a pdf on the Economist's website (which I found via Shannon Young), there is massive amounts of data on drug consumption, drug trafficking patterns and the numbers behind all this. Very worthwhile perusing, even if just to check out the graphs.
Prevalence of cocaine use appears to be in annual decline worldwide, though 14 - 20 million consume coke worldwide, and some places - including Mexico - consume more than they did several years ago. Surprising spikes in Oceania, and less surprising spikes in West Africa (read Tristan McConnell's recent article on this).
Prices reach into the range of $ 140 - 160/gram in Nordic countries and Australia, and the report cites $120 as the street value in the US when adjusted for purity and other variables; the UN is up on cutting, it seems. Gold fetches $48/g, as an interesting point of reference, also via Shannon Young.
"The Weed" remains the biggest player. Despite higher value coke, meth and heroin crossing the border by the ton, marijuana remains the biggest earner for the Mexican cartels (providing 60% of cartel revenue, according to a stat floating around lately). This is true amongst the upwards of 200 million smokers, and unlike coke, is not abating. North America leads the charge on consumption, but West Africa posts the second highest consumers, though prevalence is a lot lower.
While the lyrics of Nas, Biggie, Ghostface and other Wu tracks echo in my head from reading all of this, a more serious thought: At what point is there moral outrage for trafficked drugs? Potsmokers in Canada can make the valid point that they often know their growers, or that their dealer does, making the supply chain limited in its harmfulness (this is true elsewhere, but i just got back from Canada, so rolling with related conversations with people there). This can not be said of other drugs.
Cocaine, whether passing through Mexico or not, comes with blood on it. In my opinion, this is no longer debatable. Yet it remains casually consumed by almost 1 in 100 Canadians - often by proclaimed "socially conscious" people - without any of the discourse about the blood diamond-esque nature of its supply chain. Is it ever conceivable that people will think of the trail of damage that leads up to buying a baggie? Or does that kind of logic just not work with this particular type of good?
2 weeks ago