Marijuana is a multi-billion dollar piece of the underground economy. Public support is growing for relaxing or eliminating the penalties against adults who smoke pot. But the Bush administration continues to push severe punishment and strict definition of marijuana as a dangerous illegal drug. Another thriving part of the underground economy in the U.S. is the exploitation of undocumented immigrants for cheap labor. Huge agribusinesses depend on it and so do many individuals who want to save a few bucks on gardening or housekeeping.
Journalist Eric Schlosser examines both marijuana and immigrant labor in his book Reefer Madness: Sex, Drugs and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market. He’s also the author of the widely acclaimed best-seller, Fast Food Nation. Eric Schlosser is an award-winning correspondent for the Atlantic Monthly.