Last night in List, Ivy Film Festival screened the 2012 documentary, How To Make Money Selling Drugs. The movie was incredibly powerful and informative and I could go on for hours about all the things I learned at the screening and subsequent panel discussion. But in the interest of time, here are 10 things I learned from How To Make Money Selling Drugs:
10. How to make money selling drugs. The title of this film is not misleading and the documentary is, in fact, formatted as an informative film filled with interviews from industry professionals on how to get involved and make profit in the drug trade. The movie is set up as though the drug trade were a video game and takes its audience from Level 1: Pawn, all the way through the final level: Cartel Leader, offering bonus tips and points along the way.
9. 9 out of 10 bills in the U.S. are tainted with cocaine. And I don’t mean are metaphorically tainted with blood money from the drug trade. I mean they have physically been used to inject cocaine and still contain trace amounts of the drug.
8. The Wire can be used as a credible source. As I mentioned, I loved this documentary, but it had to be the first movie I’ve seen to very seriously cite a fictional TV show as a source of accurate portrayal of facts. That said, a brief interview with Wire creator David Simon towards the end of the film did help add legitimacy to the otherwise entertaining clips.
7. 50 Cent started selling drugs at 12 years old. And he’s hardly the youngest.
6. If you were alive in the 1970s and wanted cocaine, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida was the place to be. Drugs leaving Colombia would stop first in the Bimini Islands, and eventually make their way to coastal Florida leaving cities like Ft. Lauderdale as major party destinations.
5. A drug kingpin can make 1-3 million dollars a day. And they’re not even the top level. They do, however, often become the largest source of jobs and charity in their communities.
4. “All drug supporters in the U.S. are Jews”– Richard Nixon. I think this one speaks for itself.
3. A police officer dedicated to busting civilians on possession and other drug-related charges can smoke one joint and decide to dedicate the rest of his life to defending individuals arrested on drug charges from police corruption. And he may end up needing to seek political asylum in a foreign country in order to keep doing this work.
2. No matter how you feel or think you feel about the drug trade and war on drugs in the U.S., you could be wrong. The issues are complicated, and the answers are hardly as clear cut as people like to pretend. A five minute interview with the same individual may have you changing your mind about the war on drugs back and forth at least 10 times.
1. Everyone should see this movie.