How To Make A Fortune After Legalization

Organized crime found Prohibition a bonanza and reaped millions by bootlegging, rumruuning and operating illegal breweries- Bui few underworld figures made the transition into the legitimate liquor business after Repeal. Instead, the mob turned to other rackets-gambling, hard narcotics, prostitution and "protection." Some of the speakeasy owners like Toots Shoi\ and CharJes Kricndler of "21," went legitimate after Repeal and established woijdwide reputations as respectable restaurateurs.

Repeal did not bring the instant rebirth of the American, liquor industry. America's taste in spirits runs to whiskey; gin, vodka arid rum did not make significant inroads on sales until recent years. But good whiskey has to be aged anywhere from four to eight years, or even more. Thus the distilleries that started up again after 1933 did not have a product to market for several years. In tact, the rye whiskey industry, centered in Maryland and Pennsylvania, never really revived, which meant that the demand for whiskey had to be filled from the stock on hand.

Thafc how the really big fortunes in liquor were made-not during Prohibition, but after Repeal.. And they were made legitimately-or close to it by a few with foresight.. During Prohibition there had been a demand for illegal spirits, and the mob had filled it. Come Repeal there was an even greater demand for legal spirits, and those who filled it became mill timillionaiies. Paul Hoffman

High Times, July J 976

Pleth&m of pills concealed in heel long as a hundred years. Included in the group's literature are instructions for growing your own.

The infant natural psychedelic _ market emerged about four years ago when dried peyote buttons appeared on the market with a two dollar apiece price tag. Prices have dropped somewhat .since then, but peyote buttons today are freq uently sold fresh, requiring purchasers to tie up their capital while the buttons dry out. Amanita musearia mushrooms show themselves on the market after rainy seasons, selling for up to five dollars apiece. Psilocybin is holding its own at a trickle, the tiny buttons bringing two to live dollars each. None of these, with the exception of peyote, is doing quantity business at this time, although that will surely change as interest in homemade highs spreads. Acid, of course, is still on the scene, coming from a score of underground labs and selling at the same price it has for the last decade: from two to five dollars a hit..

UPS, DOWNS AND CROSSES Licit drugs-those easily available by prescription make up a sizable slice of the black market pie. Mood elevators, such as amphetamines, and mood depressants, such as barbiturates, inethaqualone, and "ciums" (Librium, Valium and some to-be-released), are in wide and accepted use, though closely regulated. The official sanction somewhat obfuscates the essentially illegal trade that exists. People routinely give mild antidepressants, such as Valium, to ailing friends or family, though such "distribution or intent to distribute" falls under the same drug schedule penalties as pot or acid. Until the mid-Sixties the smuggling or black marketeering of prescription drugs was almost unheard of.. Occasionally a load of pharmaceuticals was seized at the Mexican border-they could be purchased by the case in Mexico without a prescription-but changes in border-town pharmacy regulations and the difficulty of making a large profitable purchase without attracting attention prevented the practice from mushrooming. The first massive, illegally obtained infusions of prescription dope into the black market came from truck and warehouse heists, a problem that reached such proportions in the early Seventies that government inspectors were placed in drug factories and shipping convoys attended by police escorts.

The first licit drug to be illicitly manufactured was the ubiquitous White Cross and, in lesser amounts, crystal methedrine. White Crosses virtually flooded the college market in the late Sixties, used mostly as a study aid, so the story went. .

The government moved quickly to put a handle on

TRANSFER TO THE STRATOSPHERE "The junkies had nicknamed ihe restaurant the Cloud land. For it was precisely at this transfer point that those for whom there was nothing to do and nowhere to go on the ground got their transfers to the stratosphere. "It's better up there than down here/, they agreed, yawning a bit, having themselves a bit of a scratch together. But you had to know somebody who'd sell you a transfer before you could go visiting up there. The peddlers didn't chance iu selling to some panic man and then having him pull his badge and say, That did it, Fixer, now come along nice or come along dead.' ..

Nelson Algron TLw Moo 11///i the Golden Arm. 1949

these drugs when the head of the explosion shook the Sixties, and underground chemists retaliated by opening their own factories. Speed factories were common; downer factories, to a lesser extent, owing to the difficulty of chemically producing the popular barbiiurates-though PCP, an animal tranquilizer, enjoyed brief popularity under the THC misnomer it was peddled as. But the ease of fooling or buying off the medical establishment, when opposed to the extreme penalties for illegal production, has kept home labs for prescription drugs at a minimum. The single exception has involved methaqualone. The popular Sopors and Quaaludes had such a massive market when they were being prescribed legally, and heavily, that the government declared methaqualones a controlled substance,began taking count and discouraged doctors to quit, prescribing it. Naturally, labs spuing up to sate the consumers' appetite. Two large-scale methaqualone labs were busied in the last two years: one in Montreal and the other in Florida, and the former capable of producing "500 pounds" of Sopor dust in a single operation. Other labs continue to operate unmolested. Methaqualone sold for $.60-$ I a hit until the federal crackdown, after which the price jumped to $2.50 a hit, which is when the black market methaqualone appeared. Today, though the bogus products are usually inferior to their legally produced co unteiparts, both types sell for $2.75 to $4.00 per tab.

HEROIN Heroin has a long and troubled history as a recreational drug and may not be able to climb out of the hole for a long time, Although less physiologically, addictive by some accounts than cigarettes or alcohol,, smack (from the Yiddish srnek, ''nose*') is particularly popular among people characterized by down personalities and take-any thing instincts. A person high on cocaine can work, play and think and, in fact, is propelled to do so. A person high on heroin is more inclined to bliss out, sit dug peacefully.. Heroin appeals, one could generalize, more to people who would rather take life easy than work at it, a genre rife with crooks, rip-offs, hit-men and such ilk that are so popularly, associated with smack v. The drug does not make people the aggressive stereotype junkies are cast as: any cop will quickly admit, the ease of arresting a junkie on the nod. Heroin is more symbolic than real in this sense, hedged by prejudice, taboo, misinformation and cultural ethics.

American involvement in Vietnam turned on hundreds of thousands of disenfranchised soldiers to Asian smack, the wood's finest, and proved to be a natural weapon as decisive in that conflict as the Russian frontier was to the Geimans or the Spanish diseases to the Incans.

It is from Asia, particularly the "Golden Triangle" formed by Burma, Thailand and Laos that the bulk of postwar heroin has flowed. The opium gum base used to make heroin is grown there, along with large amounts from Turkey, and routed on the black market to France and Italy. Laboratories there reduce the gum. For years, Sicily was peppered with labs, accounting for the Mafia ties that exist today. Manseillkis, France, is another major manufacluring area, the home of the famous "French connection." During the Vietnam War everybody, from Vietnamese generals and CIA agents to military morticians, was smuggling Asian junk into the U.S. (A widely publicized case was a smuggling operation cracked in Hawaii in 1974 lhal sent the contraband in dead bodies being sent home from the battlegrounds.)

With suoh massive operations as the CIA's full-scale aiilifL on their own airline, Air America (for a fascinating account, read read Alfred W. McCoy's The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia), it was no surprise lhal smack in ihe late Sixties and eauly Seventies was glutting the market in greater quantities, better qualities and cheaper prices than ever before. A gram of 70-percenl pure China White was as liltle as $40; ounces, as little as $500. The "dime bags'* sold on streei corners cost $10, as opposed to the $20 they now run, and lasted a moderate junkie at least a day. The media terror stories began soon after-"Half . Million Addicts in NYC and "Junkie Stabs Moiher of 8" among the headlines of the day-and a crackdown on military smuggling followed.

A second front on ihe war against heroin opened when the Nixon administration in 1972 purchased Turkey's entire opium crop, ascertained to be the source of the heroin scourge. It wasn'l-lhe Turkish blockage backfired. As the supply of

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