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Philadelphia Police Say Marijuana Costs $100 Per Joint

Exaggerating the value of drug seizures is an age-old tactic in the drug war. Fuzzy math can turn a routine bust into a career-making front page news story, so it's no surprise that narcotics officers frequently miscalculate the value of their scores. But when a major paper like The Philadelphia Inquirer inadvertently values marijuana at $100 per joint, you know things have gotten out of hand:
Today, police laid out 16 pounds of the stuff they said they confiscated from a high-level dealer who supplied the suburbs…

Police put the value of the marijuana at $812,000. On Tuesday, as the probe continued, investigators seized 12 pounds of hallucinogenic mushrooms worth $614,000 and more than $439,000 in cash, police said. [Philadelphia Inquirer]

Really?!? Let's do the math. $812,000 / 16 pounds / 16 ounces / 28.3 grams = $112.08 per gram. That's a hearty marijuana joint for $112. The same formula finds them valuing the mushrooms at a whopping, and oddly similar, $113 per gram.

Just look at High Times Magazine's Market Quotes for marijuana to see that the highest street prices come nowhere close to these wildly false numbers. A gram of the very best pot can fetch $25-30, usually less. It is literally as though they calculated the value of the seizure and added a zero at the end (actually that's currently my best guess as to what happened here).

This is what we get when reporters simply pass along claims from police regarding drugs. Law-enforcement's lack of expertise on certain drug-related matters, combined with their incentive to exaggerate their own achievements, creates an obvious imperative that the press seek to substantiate such claims before offering them to the public.

This announcement from The Philadelphia Inquirer that marijuana costs $100 per joint is just a perfect example of the media's ongoing failure to provide responsible coverage of the war on drugs.

[Thanks, Irina]

United States
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Where's Our Voice Here?

This is why I'm disappointed that DRCNet mentioned nothing in their plans about strongly developing and improving relations with the mainstream media.

Common sense suggests that a successful relationship with them would greatly expedite the achievement of our goals as mainstream public opinion would be dramatically shifted in our favor, forcing elected officials to work to end imposing international treaties, and the CSA here at home.

Did anyone send this blog post to The Philadelphia Inquirer, for example?

Do we have connections with them and other media outlets like CNN and Fox News?

If not, why not?

The best of our movement needs to be receiving calls-for-comments from the mainstream media (if the bust is newsworthy, then certainly our response should be newsworthy). At least, our movement should be constantly sending them press releases in general regarding the movement's main points, and specific comments when news stories like the one this blog post refers to emerge.

We won't receive those calls-for-comments, if we don't strongly work to establish our expertise on the matter, proving to the mainstream media that we are the good guys out to build a brighter, freedom-embracing future via full legalization supported by effective abuse prevention and treatment (i.e. improving our public relations), opposing the perceived good guys who lie to the American people to sustain a freedom-violating policy that has not been proven to help anyone, while costing the U.S. a lot in destroyed lives and money.

This is all true.

Unfortunately, I rarely receive any response from reporters when I point out errors or request citations for dubious claims.

I typically wait a day before sending a link to a reporter, thus giving our readers a chance to point out any additional issues or errors I may have made. In this case, the story is over a month old, but I addressed it anyway because it so perfectly illustrates the absurdity of the popular drug bust press conference.

I doubt any reporter will be interested in responding at this point, but I'll try. The bust was widely covered throughout the Philadelphia press, with all stories erroneously valuing the seizure at 1.8 million, so it would be quite a chore to pursue all the guilty parties.

Our movement's most effective communications staffers achieve success by sending timely press releases and making media calls when a big story breaks. The resources this requires can only be brought to bear for major stories, while daily nonsense like this continues unchallenged.

In many cases, only a prompt public outcry can provoke a response from the authors of flawed drug war coverage. Numerous emails, LTE's and calls from citizens will get more attention than a clever correspondence from me.

Here's an example of what that can look like. It happened on its own, but if anyone has ideas for replicating it, I'm all ears.

lies and ignorance about drug costs

Does onyone think that the police can be trusted in handing out information about their accomplishments in the drug war? How naive can people be?

Obviously, the Philadelphia Inquirer can't be trusted when such blatant bullshit is printed as fact. Who the hell wrote that news? I don't think I'd want my kid going to the same schools that that person went to.

Sam Sharp


they should tell the ground to stop growing point there guns aim at the ground and say earth please stop growing .Its only a herb and it should be legalized everywere .For those of you against growing you should think about when you die then before you can be born again you have someone saying you cant grow a certain limb because it is illegal .My point is to grow happy trees because growing shouldnt have been able to become illegal.

Real costs

I'd imagine that the numbers that they quote up top should be closer to $100k worth of marijuana and $50k in mushrooms (and that's street value, not what would be paid for that kind of quantity.)

keep it real

First off they try to raise the price up because if its on a wire tap .and say the were 5 kilos bought at the range of 25-30k and they bring in 3 kilos and price them at the 50-60k just like that 2 kilos get missing not to say that what happen in this case but its something to think about. who really out to stop the big time drug dealers the police or the internal affairs

Philadelphia steals homes from the poor

Recently one of my rental properties was put on the seizure list by Phiadelphia DA's office. I was not arrested nor did I live at the property but that does not matter. The DA is not charge me with a crime. They are charging my rental property with a crime. As if a property can commit a crime. Home seizures are the job of the federal government and not state or city government. I have read many cases where poor people have lost their home for foolish reasons.

An 80 year old woman lost her home because some teens were on her steps and when the cops approached them they ran in the woman's house. The police followed the boys, locked them up and later took the woman's house who had absolutely nothing to do with the drugs.

Sometimes the law goes too far. There is a thin line between enforcing laws and stealing homes. DA Lynn Abraham her crew must be stopped from robbing poor black communities of its homes.

I would like to thank the students of University of Penn Law School for helping poor people get their homes back from those who pretend to do be fighting a war on drugs while all along are really trying to seize as many properties as they can.

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