Now this is surprising. In a Guardian article, a study is being reported that has found that "marijuana, pornography and illegal labour have created a hidden market in the United States which now accounts for as much as 10% of the American economy."
Although the official American economy has been suffering a downturn, the shadow economy is enjoying unprecedented levels of success, much in the way that the prohibition period fuelled the illegal markets in the 30s. Schlosser found that three specific industries accounted for a major portion of this boom.
Sounds like maybe we should start taxing that marijuana trade, think of the dollars our politicans could spend if it was legal! And let's face it, why is everyone so hung up about marijuana in the first place? We've much bigger problems and challenges to face to be worrying ourselves about someone wanting to get high after work.
Schlosser writes: "Although popular stereotypes depict marijuana growers as ageing hippies in northern California or Hawaii, the majority of the marijuana now cultivated domestically is being grown in the nation's mid-section - a swath running from the Appalachians west to the Great Plains. Throughout this Marijuana Belt drug fortunes are being made by farmers who often seem to have stepped from a page of the old Saturday Evening Post."
Let's hope Ashcroft catches a downwind of this and starts to chill out.