During a stop on the Thai Stick Book Tour, Peter Maguire, a co-author of Thai Stick along with Mike Ritter, spoke with Luke Hunt, The Diplomat’s Southeast Asia Correspondent.  In this insightful interview, we learn about the shift from “the innocence of an era” to the War on Drugs and the criminality of pot in the face of a huge and growing demand.  We also hear about the feedback Peter has received regarding the book from smugglers and DEA agents as well as he and Mike Ritter’s research process for the book, including how they won the confidence of the smugglers.

Here is an excerpt from the interview:

You successfully captured the innocence of an era. Pot was never considered a dangerous drug and it always seemed to marry well with the culture of surfing. What changed this by the 1980s? Was it big business and the mafia moving into drugs? The Vietnam War? The War on Drugs?

The renewed war on pot proved to be yet another Pyrrhic victory in the war on drugs. Although the U.S. government shut down the Thai marijuana trade, what did they actually win? There was no reduction in either the supply of or the demand for marijuana; in fact, quite the opposite. By the mid-1980’s, marijuana was the number one cash crop in the United States thanks to huge demand and an artificially high price. As everyone from economist Adam Smith to the Thai politicians who were pressed by the U.S. government to crack down on pot have pointed out, political laws will always be less powerful than the economic law of supply and demand.

Not only did the price of this easily cultivated weed go through the roof, while law enforcement was playing cat and mouse games with non violent pot growers, America was flooded with cocaine and its evil twin,crack.

Read the full article here: Drugs, Surfing, and Shiploads of Trouble.

 — The Diplomat is the premier international current-affairs magazine for the Asia-Pacific region.