50 Cent, Eminem, and others explain ‘How to Make Money Selling Drugs’
Anyone looking to make bank hustling contraband can definitely learn a thing or two from the new documentary How to Make Money Selling Drugs.
With interviews from 50 Cent, Eminem, Russell Simmons and even Susan Sarandon, this new film explores the charge of mastering the drug game, constructing a step-by-step booklet for rising the ranks from street hustler to drug lord.
For the movie, producer and Entourage star Adrian Grenier and filmmaker Matthew Cooke picked up where Biggie left off with the crack commandments, tracking business positions and navigating murky drug laws that preside over any kingpin’s throne.
It’s not about right or wrong, but deconstructing the American Dream.
“Growing up in the 80’s, the messaging of the War on Drugs seeped into my subconscious,” Grenier tells theGrio. “I made these grand assumptions that the people who got busted for drugs were all evil and bad, but that’s not true. The vast majority of people who are in jail for drug charges are people just like you and me: are family members, are personable people who are not violent. They’re either stuck in a bad economic situation, or have a medical problem of addiction.”
Can’t knock the hustle
Criminalization became the first matter to address in the film, and the people targeted by one of America’s most lucrative industries.
“I realized that we don’t put enough financial support behind methods of helping the weakest members of society,” Grenier says. “We just simply throw them into jail, which is economically not smart and also socially destructive.”
As the documentary suggests, people join the drug sphere when they don’t have better alternatives – and by better, the implication is fast money and lots of it.
“I’m gonna give you three and half grams [of coke], do you know what to do with it?” Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson says at the movie’s opening. “Because if you know what to do with it, you gonna be alright.”
Depending on a player’s rank, a drug dealer can make anywhere from a grand to $1 million a day selling cocaine, or $5,000 for simply driving it across the country.
Other drugs are equally lucrative. Marijuana, for instance, the most profitable cash crop in the U.S., brings in $36 billion a year.
Knowing what to do with supply is one step, but making strategic moves to process it is another. The film points out the importance of “registering with the neighborhood thug,” choosing corners wisely, and carrying a gun at all times.
And, as the rapper stresses, shooting “to kill.”
For some, pushing dope offers a six-figure starting salary – money to live versus money to get by. It can be the chance for a college dropout to erect a $100 million dollar business, and isn’t that what this country is all about?
“People who have the opportunity to get an education and go become useful members of society, doing things that are inspiring in their lives, are going to go do that,” Grenier comments. “The reality is this movie isn’t going to make people quit their job as a lawyer or doctor or whatever successful job. It’s not going to do that. It’s an honest straight talk account of what’s happening.”
He continues, “None of us should be afraid of education and the truth. The truth is something we need more of. A lot of the smear campaigns generated by the War on Drugs have kept us scared and afraid.”
Scams are plotted over grams and rocks
Since its inception, the War on Drugs has been gravely misunderstood, says Grenier, pointing out his own ignorance to discrepancies within current drug policy.
Because of laws, African-American dealers are four times more likely to be arrested than whites, for example, even though more buyers and sellers are white. According to the Correctional Association of New York, 90 percent of those convicted on drug charges under the Rockefeller drug laws are black and Latino.
Both Simmons and Sarandon attest to the need for changing such policies in the documentary, as well as the unusually harsh sentencing structures that accompany them. Other people interviewed include Arianna Huffington, Freeway Rick Ross, and David Simon, creator of The Wire.
“These policies target the weakest members of society: drug addicts and also the poor,” Grenier explains. “Because of our history, minorities are often impoverished and have a hard time buying into the American Dream. There are many reasons and details laid out in the film, but it has to do a lot with visibility and policies that target neighborhoods they have deemed problematic.”