The drug trade is a growth industry in most major American cities, fueling devastated inner-city economies with revenues in excess of $100 billion. In this timely volume, Sam Staley provides a detailed, in-depth analysis of the consequences of current drug policies, focusing on the relationship between public policy and urban economic development and on how the drug economy has become thoroughly entwined in the urban economy. The black market in illegal drugs undermines essential institutions necessary for promoting long-term economic growth, including respect for civil liberties, private property, and nonviolent conflict resolution. Staley argues that America's cities can be revitalized only through a major restructuring of the urban economy that does not rely on drug trafficking as a primary source of employment and income-the inadvertent outcome of current prohibitionist policy. Thus comprehensive decriminalization of the major drugs (marijuana, cocaine, and heroin) is an important first step toward addressing the economic and social needs of depressed inner cities. Staley demonstrates how decriminalization would refocus public policy on the human dimension of drug abuse and addiction, acknowledge that the cities face severe development problems that promote underground economic activity, and reconstitute drug policy on principles consistent with limited government as embodied in the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. Designed to cross disciplinary boundaries, Staley's provocative analysis will be essential reading for urban policymakers, sociologists, economists, criminologists, and drug-treatment specialists.