|Ganga's not likely to go away, despite a big drug seizure.|
El Bronx is the wholesale delivery point, from which pot and other drugs are distributed throughout Bogotá. So, the loss of this shipment has produced a pot shortage in the city and boosted the price by 50% according to one dealer, 400% according to another.
"A user's got to shop around, and even then he can't find it cheap," says one small retailer of 'ganga' or 'cannabis.'
For the purpose of discouraging pot use, this is a good thing - at least in the short term. (Assuming, that is, that pot smoking is a bad thing.) The dealers I spoke to, are looking for new supplies for anxious, deprived potheads. And, undoubtedly, the pot growers and traffickers are scrambling to send new shipments to Bogotá, to profit from the sky-high prices. Perhaps this time they won't pass thru El Bronx, tho.
|Police arrange packets of marijuana seized in El Bronx. (Photo: CM&)|
One of the pot sellers I spoke to didn't expect this latest seizure to end the business. In fact, he had a pocketfull of expensive pot to offer. He estimated that over the past 30 years there've been four or five big shipments seized., but the stuff keeps coming in.
"Lots of routes is what there is," he said.
A milestone 1994 study of the cocaine market by the Rand Corp. found treatment programs to be much more effective than enforcement strategies, source-country enforcement being the least effective. Rand recommended that government "cut back on the supply control and expand treatment of heavy users."
|A pot poster in La Candelaria.|
Why has Washington persisted with this policy, despite lots of evidence of its efficacy? Most likely, the huge political influence of the companies which profit from the drug war has had an influence. And so has the war mentality with which politicians have generated so much political profit by saying: 'Surrender is defeat!' (Even tho that's exactly what we did with alcohol and seem to be doing with marijuana in much of the U.S. Back when I was in high school in California, Colombian Gold was the most desired kind of marijuana. Today, California, the world's leading pot grower, would be more likely to export the stuff to Colombia.)
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours