In most countries around the world, it is against the law to use, possess, cultivate or traffic a drug of dependence.Generally, the penalties for using and possessing small quantities of illegal drugs are treated less seriously than for trafficking and cultivating drugs. Importing or exporting drugs is also an offence. Possession is one of the most common drug offences. Possession means having a drug on you or in a house or property you occupy. This includes cannabis growing anywhere on the premises and you can be charged with possession if drugs are found in a car you own or you are driving among other laws. A couple of days ago, had a chat with a reformed drug dealer who has been seeking my guidance on how to live without alcohol, women and drugs, a culture I’ve lived with since i was born. As we continued with our chat, the bloke said it is sometimes easier for some dealers to give up dealing because they don’t really need the money. He said some of his former colleagues parents were able to provide for them, so for them, dealing was never meant to be a career. That wasn’t his case as he was an orphan and all his inheritance was sold by his uncles and aunts in the pretext of educating him. The Uncle and two aunts died while he was still eight years old and thats how he was recruited in the criminal underworld of drug dealers. At the beginning, it was just another phase on his way to becoming successful adult, which he had no intention of jeopardising.With his desire to avoid legal trouble, I asked him why did he take up selling drugs in the first place and answer was complex as the business he was in.In his response, he said it’s because he believed that the odds of actually catching a drug charge were low since he was a tween and was unlikely to face criminal charges.He sadly didn’t think the same when it came to violence and in his mind, his community would never allow that to happen.For his case, he didn’t need violence to protect himself as a tween.He lived in an environment that espoused nonviolence, a mindset that seemingly trickles all the way down to the tween drug dealers but that changed when he became a teenager all the way to his mid life when his life took a turn for the worse. The more common drugs he peddled were cannabis, heroin, amphetamines also known as speed, cocaine, LSD and MDMA commonly known as ecstasy.
As we talked, it was strikingly clear that drug dealing has inherent dangers for those involved including being robbed, threatened, assaulted or arrested and inevitable array of conflicts among dealers. According to him, in most cases of potential conflict, nothing happened.It’s widely felt that when a drug dealer is ripped off, violent retaliation always follow. Most of the dealers handle their problems peacefully, either by doing nothing, avoiding the individuals who slighted them or negotiating a resolution and that is what he used to do when he was one of them. And it seems as though the etiquette of the drug dealers one that preaches conflict avoidance, conformity and not drawing attention to oneself is largely responsible.He did however say the same can’t be said of some drug dealers who when someone fails to repay a minor debt, the affront is heavily unpunished with shootouts and killings both summing up what the game is about. In his trading days, the reformed dealer told your blogger how he escaped death narrowly couple of times. He said, that when you mess up, you get killed. Most drug dealers have plenty of reasons to retaliate because they can’t report to police out of fear of incriminating themselves and not striking back, they risk coming across as soft, inviting others to take advantage of them in the business where faint hearted types don’t survive.When i asked him whether he did find himself in situations where revenge was necessary, he replied by saying many times and one of the reasons is the way he was raised and oriented to operate in the drug dealing world. The code of the drug dealers eschews violence and holds that the best way to handle conflict is to suppress it.Dealers who subscribed to this code comes not only from their actions, but also from how they explained their actions.On other occasions, he focused on peaceful solutions instead of violence, his response to cut off interaction with the person responsible or try to talk out a resolution.In his last days as drug dealer, before he was jailed for twelve years, the reformed drug dealers was well-versed in the benefits of peaceful solutions. In his own words, toleration allowed him to move on. Avoidance distanced him from further trouble while negotiation offered him the prospect of saving face, and maybe even getting compensation.Sadly for him, the appeal of violent retaliation which allowed him to exact vengeance while driving the message clearly to fellow mules as not someone to cross, he shot and killed a fellow mule. This, he explained was because in drug dealing minds, the benefits of retaliation are almost always outweighed by its risks, the biggest of which was to kill and go to jail like was the case with him. He narrated how violence brings heat and as someone who took that heat the wrong way, he admitted that his criminal record has caused long-term damage, making it much harder, now and in future, to achieve conventional success.