Peter Maguire and Mike Ritter, coauthors of Thai Stick: Surfers, Scammers, and the Untold Story of the Marijuana Trade, were recently on HuffPost Live to discuss their book and drug smuggling in Thailand in the 1960s and 1970s. Also joining them was Jim Conklin, the DEA agent who busted Mike Ritter for smuggling.
As the three explained, surfers began smuggling marijuana from Thailand but in relatively small quantities, driven by a spirit of adventure as much as a thirst for profit. Initially, neither Thai or U.S. officials paid much attention to the smugglers, who were generally nonviolent and “laid-back”. It was only later in the 1970s when professional criminals became involved and the amounts began to grow that the drug crackdown began.
After discussing this fascinating history, the three consider current drug policy and the dangers of synthetic opiates: