Americans Abroad: The Jail Scene

Coming into Los Angeles Bringing in a coupla keys Don't touch my bag, if you please, Mr. Customs man.

—an Arlo Guthrie song, 1970

Guthrie's lyrics celebrate a popular underground myth: that the U.S. is a tough drug scene compared with countries abroad, where the laws are loose and the hash is cheap. Though it is true that a "key" (kilo) of hashish may cost as little as $10 or $20 in Lebanon or Morocco, the price for many young American smugglers turns out to be almost unbearably high. All along the...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!