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The International Writers Magazine - Our Tenth Year: Comment

Make Drugs legal?
James Skinner on the reality of drug crime

The worldwide campaign against drugs is just not working and has not been for decades! If ‘kids and a few million grownups in the Western world continue to indulge ‘secretly’ in the habit, there isn’t a hope in hell in stopping the incredible world of traffickers, pushers, peddlers, pimps, prostitutes, sick politicians, corrupt cops and a vast variety of other dealers that continue to loot the world of decency. Sooner or later they are going to destroy the whole planet.

Forget about financial crisis, global warming, deforestation, oil prices, sick stock markets – depends on your views – corrupt bankers, photo-seeking politicians, ‘cash for clunkers’, swine flu and hundreds of other menacing ‘nasties’ that could affect our pension funds. Forget about your noisy neighbour who wont shut up that damn dog of hers, forget about the boss hollering at you because you’ve added a ‘0’ to the company’s bank transfer by mistake, forget about your tutor at college because he or she thinks you’re an ignorant slob and has torn up your thesis on the sexual revolution during the Napoleonic wars, forget it all! If we don’t legalise hard drugs and cannabis so that the users out there don’t have to scrape the bottom of their soul to pay through the nose – pardon the pun - for that never ending piece of white or other coloured shot and protect them by law, the whole lot of us are doomed!

Just take a look around you and pick out the most important hot trouble spots in the world and what have you got? Drug related hyper-problems. I’m not going to go into the details of the war in Afghanistan, nor the civil war in Colombia, between the government and FARC, the ‘Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia’. We all know that in both cases, the bottom line is an armed conflict to stop drug trafficking. One has a hold on heroin and the other on cocaine. Between the warring factions, the 7th Cavalry and all their allies on the one hand and the dealers in the East and Rambo-style forest hoppers in the West, you have a vast empire of pushers of all kinds ranging from the drugs themselves to arms and people; yes! Human beings that are being smuggled across continents to either fight or open their legs! That’s the real truth of the matter in this stinking world of drugs that we’ve been living in for decades.
Here is where I backtrack.

The first time I heard about drugs was at a very tender age when I went to see a movie called ‘The man with the golden arm’ starring dear old Frank Sinatra and a luscious and very young Kim Novak. The story is pretty simple. An ex-junkie, who was a sharp shooter at playing poker whilst under the influence of heroin is lured back to dealing cards by a gangster who keeps waving the ‘shit’ in front of his face. The film was made in 1955. In those days, drug addiction of this kind was nowhere near my neighbourhood let alone the vast majority of cities in the world, including the USA. 16 years later, another Oscar-winning movie called ‘The French Connection’, once again splashed across the screen the underworld of heroin pushing, but this time with a hint at it being creeping in what was an innocent Europe, still recovering from the effects of WWII. But alas! We mustn’t forget the Vietnam War, that dreadful mistake of massacring millions of innocent Far Eastern citizens as well as thousands of Yankee servicemen who lost their lives as they intermingled with all kinds of drug ‘soothers’ to stop them from going bananas as they flew around in their ‘choppers’ spreading lead, fire and dynamite across acre upon acre of civilian life. Who can forget ‘Apocalypse Now’? To end it all we have the modern version of shit peddling in ‘Traffic’ whereby an innocent and idiotic father acted by Michael Douglas is leading a cause against drugs whilst his own daughter is selling her virtue for a ‘shot’. A parallel story in the plot is taking place in Mexico where Benicio del Toro is being shot at trying to stop the bad guys smuggling the powder across the border into the USA. Ironically the whole area of John Wayne’s ‘El Alamo’ has, in real life turned into a new war zone no different to Kabul or Bogota. Decapitations are the order of the day between rival drug bandits whilst thousands of cops and troops from both sides are shooting it out with the bad guys.

The reason I’m suggesting the legalisation is because I’ve started writing a second novel, ‘Purple Maiden’ that deals with the drug trade on my own home ground and during my research into the historical background the information that I have uncovered dwarfs everything I have read, seen or suspected in the past on the world of drugs.

Galicia, where I live is in the North Western region of Spain, far away from the crowds of the ‘Costa Brava’ or the ‘Costa del Sol’. It is green, mountainous, blessed with beautiful fiords that face the Atlantic Ocean, moderate climate and populated by Celts who play the bagpipes and speak a different language to that in the rest of the country – excluding Catalans. But alas! Like the Kyber Pass, it is also the gateway into Europe for cocaine traffic from South America. It has been for years. Not a day goes by without the police arresting the odd bunch of criminals trying to smuggle hundreds of kilos of the ‘white stuff’ into the country by all kinds of methods under the sun. From fast speedboats, to homemade submarines, from containers to fishing boats, you name it, it’s been tried. As I continue to investigate the historical background, the more I am convinced of my theory. Legalize it and tax it.

Here’s how.
The USA should take the lead by allowing acres and acres of land to be turned into hashish, poppy and coca plantations. Special horticulture shops should be given licenses to operate throughout the country that offer marijuana, cocaine and heroin no different to any other herbal product available at the moment. The government could then introduce laws and taxes similar to those that presently ban or discourage smoking and proceed with anti-smoking campaigns but orientated towards drugs. Think about it. It may take a couple of generations to cut the habit, it may not reduce drug addiction entirely, it will certainly support anti-drug associations and other similar organizations fighting the consumption of the shitty stuff, but one thing is certain though. The warlords in faraway lands that presently have the monopoly will have a devil of a hard time trying to compete in marketing and pricing let alone transport and other costs.
Goodbye Taliban and Pancho Villa and other terrorists that live off the rotten lives of millions of junkies around the world.’
© James G. Skinner. September 2009.

jamesskinner at

Goodbye Gloom & Doom
James Skinner
Our regional government announced yesterday with great pomp and circumstance that our city will be connected with Madrid by high-speed train no later than the year 2015.

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