Marijuana, Tony Dokoupil, Arthur discussed on John Batchelor

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

John batchelor. This is totally the graduations, Tony. Thank you very much, this Tony's memoir of growing up with death. Also Tony couple Anthony, the last pirate, a father a son and the golden age of marijuana going to begin on the beach in Miami. It's nineteen ninety two July, this is the year of Andrew that will wreck everything we're watching, however, a man, a man, five feet. Eight one hundred sixty five pounds tan once had blond hair is sitting with a work crew on the beach. He works for Miami Dade picking up trash on the beach. And suddenly couple of what I picture to be beefy square-shouldered, man nondescript jackets, come out of an unmarked car and they approach him. And they asked him. Are you Tony to cope? Who are they and what happens if federal marshalls, and they've been looking for my father for a long time, there was a major indictment came down three of them. In fact, overlapping rings. It was the product of one of Ray. Egan's federal drug task forces than New England drug task force one guy role than another role in my father, and they arrested people in Hong Kong, Switzerland, pulling money from all kinds of places more than a dozen people have been busted. They couldn't find. My father had been a significant part of this ring couldn't find him because he'd washed out so completely that he'd been homeless, and then with on his way up inching back into real life by picking up trash online beaches first job in twenty years since he started dealing drugs. They take him downtown federal detention Miami Miami day and they asked him a series of questions. If you've got any money, not oh, any money, no credit cards. No, no, no, no. In the last question they asked him. Do you have any relatives, and he says, no, you? Right. That was a lie. Yeah. So it's an incredible document. When you arrested, there's a standard piece of paper where they ask you about your assets. And a final question is do you have any dependence, and he said, no, no? We'll we'll go back before Tony before Tony dokoupil, the author to Tony to cope will the wanna be drug smuggler. This is the fall of nineteen seventy Long Island Sound, Connecticut side. Your father's living in an unheeded beachfront shack, right? Okay. He's living there for unclear reasons, but it is nine hundred seventy then things possible. The war in Vietnam. The alienated from the country is under way, we have a Cold War. Everybody understands that at any moment. Everything goes, boom. Okay. He's living on the beach, and he sees a very attractive woman walking down the road, wishy. That's my mother. He's very cold. And he's looking for somewhere to get warm. So he goes to a bar, not not far from where you're hanging out and he just smiles everyone who walks in the door. And one of those people have as my mom and the following year, she took a career placement test that determined her to be of very. Keen judgment, wonderful gauge of character, and yet she smiled back my father at night, and they, they were together for next. Describe your father from your mother's point of view as a lab who goes out and gets dirty enrolls in the mud and then comes in and shakes everything off and says, here I am. And you take him back. He's a charming sparkley eyed, man. I mean he also dropped out of a graduate program in English university of Detroit to come to Connecticut, and quoted, he minored in philosophy as an undergrad, he had big ideas about our fragile earth. If you're a good talker. Nineteen seventy that was the thing that got you women. I think was he a hippie did he ever describe himself saying he was absolutely hippie. He was part of students for democratic society chapter in the mid west in nineteen sixty nine there was a major event. I'm a little fuzzy SEF's history, but he distributed flyers on Harvard University, and he was war, but he was antiwar reflexively. Everyone was fifty pro good times what let's start him in the chain that leads to. To Miami Beach, and nineteen Ninety-two before we go back to the ducal family in America. He falls in with Arthur, all the names in the book changed, except for your father's name, and religion. All the people who are proud of being your name, your family all time. But he, he falls in with Arthur, they formed, the TNA roofing company. I take it. They weren't working very hard, but your father liked to wear a hammer on it on his on his hip, and then one day he realizes that Tony has a second life. What is he realized Arthur? Yeah. He realizes that Arthur has reasons for not working in medium, cold, or light rain on, there's reason why he can't really hammer a nail straight because he doesn't need the work. He loses big card games. It doesn't matter. It's got a nice car pays his girlfriend's tuition at Yale. Everything is good for Arthur. My father can't figure out why then he realizes Arthur's dealing Arthur's connected. Let's talk about what marijuana was the fall of nineteen seventy. It's about to go through a transformation. But at this time I can remember on campus in nine hundred sixty eight big headlines five busted for marijuana in their rooms and they're going to be thrown out. Out of school for a semester. Big scandal. Was it a federal crime in the fall of seventy or the spring of sixty eight? It was actually not a federal crime. There was a marijuana tax law, which was passed thirty seven which if you had marijuana use one hundred dollars tax, which was so, so, so orbited that many people couldn't afford it. And if you were busted, you're actually busted for tax fraud. So technically it wasn't federally legal the system that we have today was not yet in place. There were very difficult state laws, and there was huge opposition to its use, so certainly some discouragement. I do not recall. However routine arrests the way it would become in the nineteen seventies and eighties. No, not at all. Some states were particularly draconian. And in the late sixties major mainstream magazines, like life and time, we're covering quite a counterculture movement to soften the laws on the state level. But there was nothing like what we would see with federal task forces knocking on doors and nothing that starts the next year with under Nixon, Richard Nixon's administration, the war on drugs. What we understand. I think the stat you gave us the DA when it was founded was forty three million dollars funding. And it became by one thousand nine hundred eighty billion dollars funding and it continued to climb through the eighties. But here we are at the beginning. This is the Christmas of drug dealing in America and your father's there at the beginning. It's like being in Silicon Valley in one thousand nine hundred seventy I have an idea, okay? Now, what he really wants to do is a deal marijuana to the neighborhoods, he knows. So he gets it from Arthur, and then he resells it and makes a small profit. Yeah. You know the the. The business is, is built on connections. It's built on, whether you can smell it one guy smiles at another who sell your product. It's, it's kind of like pyramid marketing, you know, I felt the you, you sell to me and around goes the money at the end of the day somebody ends up with more than the next guy, and my father was very good at turning people, his way. And he went to, to New Jersey in instantaneously neighbor. His old neighborhood. Yeah. He was from New Jersey and the trick of buying getting an ice cream truck out front. Fences and early, early example of his flourish for, you know, he's a bit of a performer, he his final brick on his first weekend of sales, he wanted to do something special brick is a brick is a kilo marijuana. So it was Mexican marijuana in the Mexicans run the metric system, which frustrated a lot of the Gringo dealers. Wow. Pounds. So they call her kilo brick and it was replica brick and he, he was planning to his sister, who was hoping to sell it herself and make her across the country to San Francisco Carolyn, Carolyn important connection in my very long. And so he he worked as an ice cream salesman in high school. We still have friends in that business Bartha truck. He sets up inside of his own house. And just so three the bell for Caroline, who seventeen years old, and he's not doing it doesn't want ice cream. So there's a whole lot of cash right away. Tony to culpable understands. This is a business and I have a marketing plan, and it's probably going to grow. But the presumption at the time was marijuana would be made decriminalized, I think, is the term that they use. Absolutely. Because wall Nixon is remember to someone who launched the war on drugs. He was the first person to use that that phrase, there was also a powerful movement against or Conan, drug laws in the nineteen seventies, there was a famous blue blue ribbon presidential commission that recommended decriminalization. And if you've. Were paying attention to that side of the conversation. You could think I'm on the ground floor or something that's about to be like cigarettes. Right. So this is nine hundred seventy we leave it there. You see how fast marijuana's growing in Colorado? Imagine how fast it's going to grow with the whole baby-boom coming up behind. Tony to couple who's born forty six. So he's just at the front end your father of the baby. Boom, we're going to come back and go back to the couples as they arrive in America, the end of the nineteenth century, the book is the last pirate, a father, his son and the golden age of marijuana on John Batchelor. This is the John Batchelor show..

Coming up next