YES, WE SHILL A LOT of software and coffee, but Seattle’s location on the I-5 corridor makes it a hub for an entirely different kind of industry—one that takes more than an economist to analyze and describe. Lieutenant Mike Edwards of the Seattle Police Department explains the economics behind the city’s street drugs.

Methamphetamine

$20–$25 for a quarter gram

Lieutenant Edwards: “Meth was a rural problem, but a lot of the ‘cooking’ is now being done in Mexico and transported in, so that’s how it has grown into the urban environment.”

Marijuana

$120–$300 for one half ounce, depending on quality

“The Northwest has been known as one of the more sophisticated areas for growing operations. So the product is considered the best around for level of active ingredients.”

Oxycontin

$15–$20 for a 40 mg tablet

“We’ve seen a major upswing in the illegal sales of pharmaceuticals, from individuals selling their extra prescriptions to organizations purchasing the drugs from Canadian or Mexican retailers. It’s overtaking some of the more traditional trades like coke and heroin.”

Cocaine

$15–$20 for a quarter gram

“As organizations began seeing the money to be made selling meth, the price of cocaine decreased. Price often varies depending on quality, but a buyer can’t always be sure.”

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