Both of these concerns present a validity and a legitimacy that would certainly temper the expected growth of such areas of the city, and, if left unchecked, have the potential to overwhelm the benign effects of reduced crime and social and salutary outreach benefits. The most successful way to deal with the former of these issues, is to implement a policy specific to the activity of minors. There is a significant amount of evidence that indicates that adolescents are those who are most at-risk for enlisting in street gangs and selling drugs, a fact that is readily corroborated by Bourgois' case study of Tito in which his subjected "immersed himself with all his energy into New York City's gang life in early adolescence" (24). Within these proposed areas in street drugs are legal, a simple remedy for the problems of adolescent interaction would involve developing a system for the permitting and licensing of teenagers to sell or use drugs, in much the same way they require a permit or a license to drive a motorized vehicle. Adolescents could gain a license by the age of 16, and begin taking the steps for gaining one once they turned 15.
In terms of the state's ability (or even a city's ability) to regulate the behavior of adult drug usage and the potential difficulties that could arise in attempting to do so, law enforcement officials must exercise extreme vigilance and caution in those areas in which street drugs are permissible. Also, crimes related to traditional drug trafficking and drug usage are allowable in such areas, other crimes, which may result from intoxication, are still punishable and police are at liberty to deal with such transgressors accordingly. Also, a key component in determining whether or not this system of implementing certain areas within inner cities as zones in which street drugs are legal is to actually see if other criminal activity related to those drugs decreases. The example of the Wire suggests it would, but if not then this policy may need further revision or discontinuance.
An examination of evidence provided from the Wire and from additional sources of literature demonstrates that the utilization of a small section of an inner city in which the selling and usage of drugs and prostitution is legalized would certainly benefit drug dealers, by eliminating the need for violent competition between rival drug gangs. Instead, such factions could spend their time marketing and promoting their product, as aggressively as virtually any other business does. The subset of the population that will incur the most risk from such a policy includes children as well as drug users. However, policy makers have the potential to significantly reduce the number and degree of noxious effects for children by implementing a permit and a license procedure that would circumscribe the age with which adolescents could become involved in this trade (and in the use of drugs), while law enforcement would be responsible for the diligent patrolling and prevention of any crimes caused by intoxicated users. The ultimate goal of such a program, however, is to provide a highly legal, orderly compartment of a particular city in which the sale and use of drugs is conducted in a fashion as close to possible of virtually every other sort of industry in the U.S. No one can deny the immense revenues that are generated from the sales of illegal street drugs; a 2003 study indicates that "annual earnings for drug gang leaders are between $50,000 and $130,000" (King, 2003). It would greatly benefit this country if those earnings improve the national economy by becoming incorporated into the legal trade and industry much like every other business.
Bourgois, P. (1997). "Overachievement in the Underground Economy: The Life Story of a Puerto Rican Stick-Up Artist in East Harlem." Free Inquiry. 25 (1) pp. 23-32.
Gilderbloom, J., Hanka, M., Lasley, C. (2008). "Amsterdam: Planning and Policy for the Ideal City?" sun.louisvill.edu. Retrieved from http://sun.louisville.edu/pdfs/Amsterdam_Article.pdf
King, R. (2003). "The Economics of Drug Selling: A Review of the Research." Prisonpolicy.org. Retrieved from http://www.prisonpolicy.org/scans/sp/5049.pdf
Read, J. "Stringer Bell's Lament: Violence and Legitimacy in Contemporary Capitalism."
Warner, K.E. (1991). "Legalizing Drugs: Lesson from (and about) Economics." The Milbank Quarterly. 69 (4) pp.641-661. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/3350231?searchUrl=%2Faction%2FdoBasicSearch%3FQuery%3Dlegalizing%2Bdrugs%26acc%3Doff%26wc%3Don&Search=yes&uid=3739600&uid=2129&uid=2134&uid=2&uid=70&uid=4&uid=3739256&sid=47699044329237