TIME Drugs

Washington State Marijuana Shops Caught Selling to Minors

Girl holding marijuana in hand , close-up
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Four of 22 stores tested for compliance were caught selling weed to underage shoppers in state-run stings

Washington’s retail marijuana businesses got calls from the state liquor control board before the sting operations began, warning them and reminding them about best practices when it comes to keeping weed out of kids’ hands. But when the board sent 18- to 20-year-old operatives into the first batch of stores this month to see if shops would sell them weed, four of them still failed the test. According to the board’s report released Wednesday, that amounted to 18% of 22 operations.

“We’re always going to have the goal of 100% compliance, that’s what we want; [82%] is good, but it’s not great,” says State Senator Ann Rivers, who has continued to work on reforming the state’s retail and medical marijuana industries. “Many of these businesses have invested a lot of time and a lot of money. And it’s stunning to me that they’d be willing to risk their livelihood to do something so foolish.”

By the end of June, the state plans to conduct sting operations at each of the 138 retail marijuana shops reporting sales in Washington. “When the news is out,” the liquor control board’s Brian Smith says of these first numbers, “we’ll see a spike in compliance. That’s what happened on the alcohol side.” In the operations, the underage shoppers present their real IDs if asked but don’t offer an ID if they aren’t; if a store sells them marijuana, they complete the transaction and bring the contraband to officers waiting outside the shops.

Marijuana businesses in Washington that sell to minors face possible license suspensions and fines of up to $2,500. Businesses that fail three times in three years can lose their state-issued licenses, while the person who conducts the actual transaction faces a possible felony charge.

Reformers who wanted to legalize marijuana in Washington and Colorado—and who continue to pursue reform in other states—often argue that weed should be legal because it’s safer than alcohol. Regulations for alcohol, such as selling it only to adults ages 21 and older, have been used as scaffolding for nascent marijuana markets. Smith points out that similar sting operations conducted among liquor sellers in Washington always find slip-ups. Since 2012, monthly checks have found that an average of 85% of businesses, ranging from liquor shops to restaurants, don’t sell to minors.

Colorado conducted their first stings among a sample of 20 retail marijuana shops in 2014 and found 100% compliance, but the vast majority of the state’s more than 250 shops were not tested. Since summer 2014, the state has conducted a total of 137 compliance checks and six shops have been caught selling to minors. Similar checks among liquor sellers in Colorado have found that an average of about 90% of businesses don’t sell alcohol to minors.

Smith chalks some failures up to “human error,” though drivers licenses for residents under age 21 are vertical rather than horizontal in the state. Many shops, he says, have someone stationed at the door and people working the register sometimes mistakenly assume that all shoppers’ IDs have been checked before they show up at the counter. “It’s early. This is a brand new industry that is finding it’s way,” Smith says. “There’s going to be some kinks initially.”

“Because this market is new, some business people don’t have all of their systems in place as much as we might like them to, so I’m going to cut them just the slightest bit of slack,” Rivers says. But she also emphasizes that “part of the expectation of the people of this state was that [a legal marijuana market] would be well taxed and very well regulated to keep it out of the hands of kids.”

While she’s neither thrilled nor deeply disappointed in these first results, Rivers says that attention shouldn’t just be focused on what happens in the stores: “The larger concern for me is people who are purchasing it legally because they’re the right age but then giving it to the underage people.”

A failure to follow the rules gives ammunition to those who did not want to legalize marijuana or who would like to see existing markets fold. But reform advocates point out that there is, at least, some oversight now occurring. “It’s always disappointing when there are isolated incidents of non-compliance, but it’s also a powerful example of how a legal, regulated market leads to more accountability and responsibility,” says Taylor West, spokesperson for the National Cannabis Industry Association. “Because you can certainly bet no one’s checking IDs in the criminal market, and a regulatory process incentivizes legal businesses to play by the rules.”

TIME Media

TIME on Pot: 5 Cover Stories About Marijuana

See how society's view evolved over the decades

This week’s TIME cover story examines how little we actually know about marijuana’s effects on our brains, even as cities and states around the United States are legalizing the drug.

It’s not the first time marijuana has been cover-story material. TIME has published five cover stories about the drug that, taken together, show how society’s view of marijuana has evolved over two decades.

Read the new cover story here, on Time.com: The Great Pot Experiment

TIME Baseball

Jorge Posada Says A-Rod Shouldn’t Be in the Hall of Fame

Former New York Yankees catcher Jorge Posada, left, in camp as a guest instructor, sits with New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi before a spring training baseball game against the Miami Marlins in Tampa
Kathy Willens—AP Former New York Yankees catcher Jorge Posada, left, in camp as a guest instructor, sits with New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi before a spring training baseball game against the Miami Marlins in Tampa, on March 15, 2013.

"I don't think it's fair. I really don't"

Former New York Yankees catcher Jorge Posada said Wednesday that his longtime teammate Alex Rodriguez and others who are known users of performance enhancing drugs shouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame.

“I don’t think it’s fair. I really don’t. I think the guys that need to be in the Hall of Fame need to be a player that played with no controversy,” Posada told CBS This Morning. He told the show that he has not told Rodriguez his position, and that he thinks the current Yankees star would be surprised to hear it.

Posada also said he thinks the incident may have harmed his own career. “The only thing that I can think is 2003. You know, I was close to the MVP. Didn’t happen. Alex won the MVP and, you know, I think second, either Carlos Delgado or David Ortiz, I don’t remember. But you know, I was almost there,” he said. “You know what could have happened if, you know it’s tough. It’s really tough.”

Posada was also interviewed about his new book, The Journey Home: My Life in Pinstripes.

[CBS News]

Read next: Yankees Slugger A-Rod Apologizes for Misconduct

TIME Opinion

How Our War on Drugs Undermines Mexico

Suspects being searched for narcotics at
Co Rentmeester—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images Suspects being searched for narcotics at the US-Mexico border customs post in 1969

The continued dominance of multi-billion dollar Mexican drug cartels is linked to aggressive drug policies of the U.S. in the 1960s and '70s

History News Network

This post is in partnership with the History News Network, the website that puts the news into historical perspective. The article below was originally published at HNN.

This June marks 44 years since President Richard Nixon declared a war on drugs, marking an unprecedented mobilization of U.S. resources to combat the drug trade domestically and abroad. The reason? A fear that narcotics use, especially during the Vietnam War era, posed a grave threat to society. Or perhaps, more accurately, drugs threatened authority figures during a period of large-scale revolution against social norms across much of the western world.

With a perceived increase in U.S. drug use, Nixon deployed the now ubiquitous war on drugs metaphor to generate increased funding for drug control. “Public enemy number one in the U.S. is drug abuse,” Nixon said to Congress in 1971. “In order to fight and defeat this enemy, it is necessary to wage a new, all-out offensive.” With this address came a complete discarding of any sort of prevention and treatment solutions to drug abuse, and the wholehearted embrace of a “war” within our own borders.

Enter Mexico, 1969. For years, Mexico’s domestic supply of psychoactive raw materials (cannabis, peyote, opium poppies, hallucinogenic mushrooms, etc.) concerned authorities on both sides of the border. Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and a host of other popular figures had trekked to Mexico in the 1950s for the specific purpose of acquiring psychoactive substances. Throughout the 1960s, many others—hippies, students, and sympathizers of the antiestablishment culture—followed suit.

Months after coming into office Nixon ordered the border shut down in an operation known as “Interception” to cut off the flow of Mexican marijuana coming into the U.S. But as the complete shutdown of border commerce debilitated the Mexican economy, it was clear that Interception was also intended to force Mexico into complying with newly established U.S. drug policies such as supply-focused initiatives and more intense marijuana policing.

With the Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) formation in 1973, the DEA and other U.S. institutions would utilize the war on drugs as grounds for increased involvement overseas. The abduction, torture, and murder of undercover DEA agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena in 1985 resulted in another U.S. clampdown on Mexico when Mexican authorities failed to locate Camarena or any suspects in the crime.

Believed by the reigning Guadalajara cartel to be the leak of a major drug bust by the Mexican military, Camarena was kidnapped by corrupt police officers in broad daylight. The DEA eventually forced the Mexican government’s apprehension of suspects. Interestingly, a number of 2013 reports alleged CIA involvement in Camarena’s murder, as he was purportedly a threat to U.S. drug operations.

As the focus of the drug trade expanded to the Caribbean in the 1980s, the U.S. government’s strict targeting of the drug supply over air and water ultimately facilitated Mexican cartels’ control of land routes.

So did the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), established in 1994, which opened the U.S.-Mexico border for free trade. As cheap U.S. agricultural goods flooded Mexican markets, the Mexican farming industry was severely hit, prompting the cultivation of drugs. In due time, the increased flow of north-south commerce also included illegal substances from Mexico and other parts of the Americas.

Much more is known about Mexico’s drug violence since the early 2000s. Places like Ciudad Juárez epitomize the contemporary Mexican drug war. Between 2006 and 2012, Mexican president Felipe Calderon presided over an unparalleled mobilization of Mexican resources to fight off drug cartels.

The resulting death toll: more than 70,000.

Calderon’s counterpart in the U.S., George W. Bush, responded to calls for aid by establishing the Merida Initiative in 2008. A security cooperation agreement between the U.S., Mexico, and Central American countries, the Merida Initiative was intended to combat drug trafficking and crime.

The more liberal, forgiving attitudes toward drug control in the U.S. of recent years might suggest a break form the long, at times, violent history of U.S.-influenced drug enforcement. There is, for example, widespread acknowledgement that the war on drugs has been a policy failure. The Obama administration has distanced itself from the war on drugs, at least rhetorically. And yet last year’s federal drug war budget — topping $25 billion — and the continued efforts of U.S. institutions abroad in the name of drug control, remind us that a war on drugs is still alive and well.

The current system is propped up by many different U.S. and Mexican institutions—police forces, the military, the CIA, the State Department, etc.—each with its own set of interests. Methodical funding cuts would have to be made alongside fundamental revisions of the roles these institutions play for real change to take place. For all of the talk of marijuana legalization and an end to the war on drugs, policies along these lines have yet to be established, let alone brought more fully into the global drug debate.

There are a number of unrecognized dimensions to the way the war on drugs has played out in Mexico over the last four decades. During the 1970s and 1980s, for example, Mexican police forces and its military conflated drug policing with targeting political subversives and campesino farmers. In other words, drug policing became a convenient justification for monitoring perceived enemies of the state.

It is baffling how the U.S. remains very much involved in Mexican drug affairs at the same time it is trying to distance itself from the impact of the drug trade in Mexico. This tension played out last fall in the rather silent U.S. response to the drug-related murders of 43 student teachers in the Mexican state of Guerrero and the government’s attempts at a cover-up. Mexicans know the U.S. is embedded in their country’s drug control efforts. One can only imagine their sense of disappointment when the U.S. failed to speak up against a major incident of government corruption.

If the U.S. has chosen to break with the war on drugs, then it should start making noticeable funding cuts in drug control. Sounds simple enough, but this should be done in conjunction with a reduction in the size of drug enforcement missions at home and abroad. Finally, moving past a war on drugs in the long term must involve nuanced, multilateral reforms with foreign counterparts. Otherwise, what the U.S. facilitates in Mexico would not be the reduction of the drug trade, but increasing divisions between north and south of the border, divisions largely of its own creation, as the longer history of the war on drugs reminds us.

Aileen Teague is a Ph.D. Candidate in History at Vanderbilt University and formerly a U.S. Marine Corps Officer. She is currently a Researcher with the Fulbright Program in Mexico City.

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TIME Innovation

What’s Behind the Russia-China Cyber Deal

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

These are today's best ideas

1. Should we be worried about the new Internet security pact between China and Russia?

By Cyrus Farivar in Ars Technica

2. Here’s a roadmap for building an innovation ecosystem in Africa.

By Jean Claude Bastos de Morais in IT News Africa

3. What if junk food actually kills off the bacteria that keeps us healthy?

By Luke Heighton in the Telegraph

4. We’re about to lose the best way to measure how well we educate poor kids.

By Jill Barshay in the Hechinger Report

5. Want to end the War on Drugs? Don’t talk to Washington. Lobby your local police department.

By Ben Collins in the Daily Beast

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Healthcare

What You Should Know About Medical Marijuana for Pets

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Be sure to consult your veterinarian first

Now that 23 states have given medical marijuana the green light (with even recreational use now allowed in another four states and Washington D.C.), growing weed has become a growing business. The newest frontier: getting Fido and Fluffy on board with the cannabis revolution.

Relax. We’re not talking about rolling doobies with your dog, or seeing “pretty colors” with your cat. Nope, these are cannabis-containing edible treats and capsules that are meant for sick or aging pets.

“The cannabis plant has many compounds in it,” Matthew J. Cote, brand manager at Auntie Dolores, a San Francisco Bay Area-based edibles manufacturer, told ABC News. Auntie Dolores launched its pet line Treatibles last year. “Most people grow cannabis for the euphoric experience of THC. But they’ve been overlooking cannabidiol—commonly known as CBD—which is non-psychoactive,” he said.

CBD, in fact, does not produce a high, and it’s true that it’s been studied as a potential treatment for epileptic seizures and pain relief for cancer patients.

So, as Cote explained to ABC News, the theory is that since aging canines share a lot of the same health problems as humans, there must be a market for pot-laced dog “medicine.” Sold online ($22 per bag of 40 treats, treatibles.com), Treatibles contain 40 milligrams of CBD per treat and makers advise giving one per 20 pounds of your pet’s weight.

“What we’ve seen is that some of these dogs respond very rapidly,” Cote told ABC News. “One woman from Fort Bragg was ready to put down her dog due to how sick and in pain he was, but the day before he was scheduled to go under, she administered our treats and just like that the dog was up, walking around, and acting normally again.”

Canna Companion, another pot-for-pets proprietor based in Sultan, Washington, also boasts of amazing results for customers. One such testimonial posted on their website reads: “It seems as though [Canna Companion] is the best kept secret in the animal world for pain management and anxiety issues. I originally ordered it for my cat Robbie for anxiety/inflamed bladder issues and it works! Robbie has had issues for the past year or so, and now they are all but gone.”

High (ahem) praise, indeed.

Even so, the American Veterinary Medical Association hasn’t taken an official stance, and even in states where marijuana is legal, veterinarians are not allowed to prescribe cannabis products to their patients. (Though that may change: In Nevada, where medical use for humans is legal, the legislature is currently debating a bill that would allow vets to prescribe it to pets.)

Producers of these treats and capsules also have to be careful about any claims they make about their products. According to ABC News, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration sent Canna Companion’s co-owner (and a veterinarian) Sarah Brandon a notice, stating that the capsules were an “unapproved new animal drug and your marketing of it violates the [Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic] Act.”

That kind of cautionary approach makes sense, say some experts, who point out that since these products aren’t regulated by the FDA, there’s no real way of knowing what you’re getting—or what the potential side effects might be. Says Tina Wismer, medical director of the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, in an interview with Health: “These products show potential, but there’s not a lot of research at this point. No one is even sure what the correct therapeutic dosage is. For example, in the ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ section on one of the websites, a customer asks, ‘How much should I give my pet?’ And they answer—I’m paraphrasing here: ‘Whatever you think would help.’ Well, that’s extremely vague.”

Not to mention, potentially dangerous: A 2012 study published in the Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care found that the number of dogs treated for marijuana overdoses at two Colorado veterinary hospitals quadrupled in five years following the legalization of medical marijuana in the state.

Sometimes it’s a case of owners deliberately administering cannabis products (hash-laced brownies, for example) to their pets, experts note. Other times, ingestion happens by accident—say, animals inhaling second-hand pot smoke or getting into their owner’s unattended stash. Wismer, who hasn’t heard of any problems with Treatibles or Canna Companion specifically, says she has fielded more than a few panicked calls at poison control about accidental exposures to pot in general—with sometimes scary results.

“You would think they’d become sedated and wobbly, but almost a quarter of them become quite agitated,” says Wismer. “They’re trying to pace. They’re panting. You reach out to pet them and they jerk their heads away.” In fact, Wismer adds, dogs that ingest large amounts of THC sometimes need to be put on fluids and have their heart rate monitored. Scary, right? (Although the commercial dog treats contain little or no THC, according the manufacturers.)

The bottom line here: You probably shouldn’t feed your pet cannabis—in any form—without talking to your vet.

This article originally appeared on Health.com.

More from Health.com:

TIME Crime

Prosecutors Charge 33 in Alleged Criminal Enterprise

The conspiracy spread across Ohio, Minnesota, California and Puerto Rico

(San Francisco) — Nearly three dozen people have been charged in California as part of a criminal network that illegally sold millions of dollars in prescription drugs and engaged in bank fraud, money laundering and racketeering, federal prosecutors announced Thursday.

Prosecutors alleged a widespread conspiracy that included numerous companies and activity in California, Minnesota, Ohio and Puerto Rico.

The group — some of them family members with ties to Southern California — got prescription drugs from unlicensed sources and resold them to unwitting customers, prosecutors said.

According to a grand jury indictment, David Miller, 50, ran a drug wholesale business called the Minnesota Independent Cooperative. The business bought about $157 million in drugs from Mihran Stepanyan, 29, and Artur Stepanyan, 38, even though Miller knew they were not licensed to sell drugs and obtained them illegally, the seven-count indictment says.

Ara Karapedyan, 45, another key figure in the enterprise, sold several hundred thousand dollars of drugs, including the antidepressants Cymbalta and Abilify and the cancer drug Gleevec, prosecutors said.

Karapedyan and the Stepanyans were among 32 people arrested Wednesday, according to the U.S. attorney’s office for the Northern District of California. Miller remains at large.

The U.S. attorney’s office said it did not know whether any of the defendants had attorneys who could comment on the allegations. Most of them appeared before federal judges Wednesday but did not enter pleas.

In addition to illegal prescription drug sales, the enterprise is accused of preparing fraudulent tax returns that relied on an unlicensed mailbox business for addresses. Karapedyan and his associates negotiated more than 500 fraudulent checks worth more than $5 million between 2012 and 2014, according to prosecutors.

Karapedyan and another defendant, Gevork Ter-Mkrtchyan, are also accused of paying $1,500 to have someone killed, though prosecutors said the hit was never carried out.

TIME Drugs

Woman Finds Bag of Cocaine in a Granola Bar

Police say it could have been very dangerous if the drug had been found by a child

A Texas woman got more than just granola when she opened a Nature Valley bar.

Tucked inside the wrapper was a small bag of high-quality cocaine, KENS 5 reported.

Cynthia Rodriguez called the San Antonio police about this in March when she found the bag. She initially thought she had won a prize, but after she called Nature Valley the company told her to report the incident to the police.

“It’s a somewhat disturbing case,” Sgt. Javier Salazar told KENS 5. “You think of a child getting a hold of a package that’s got interesting symbols on it, dollar signs in this case, and ingesting something like cocaine that could have a possibly dangerous effect, maybe even deadly on a child.”

The police are now trying to determine if the packet of cocaine was deliberately slipped into the packaging, or if it fell out of someone’s pocket on the assembly line.

Mike Siemienas, spokesman for General Mills, which makes the Nature Valley bars, told KSAT, “We referred this to the police in March and are confident this did not happen in our facility… Inside the production facility the product moves very fast and it would be extremely difficult to get something in there.”

TIME Nepal

The Glory That Was Hippie-Era Kathmandu Finally Died in the Nepal Earthquake

An earthquake victim walks along a street near collapsed houses in Sankhu, on the outskirts of Kathmandu
Danish Siddiqui—Reuters A street of near collapsed traditional houses in Sankhu, on the outskirts of Kathmandu on May 4, 2015

It lives on only in the collective memory of aging beatniks

Though the 7.9-magnitude earthquake that struck last Saturday has now claimed more than 7,000 lives, modern, workaday Kathmandu — the Kathmandu of ring roads and malls — has come through.

Fabled Kathmandu, however — that mystical waypoint on the Himalayan hippie trail with its promise of enlightenment and cheap, potent hash — has been devastated.

Anyone who has been to the Nepali capital will know the red brick color of the old city. Today, those bricks are dust, and their trademark red coats the arms and faces of workers digging through rubble in the mournful search for bodies.

According to Nepal’s UNESCO chief Christian Manhart, who has just completed a thorough assessment of the city, 60% of all heritage buildings were “badly damaged” in the quake. With them, a whole way of life has finally vanished.

The Kathmandu valley lies at an ethereal altitude of 4,600 ft. (1,400 m), and, besides the natural beauty of the encircling Himalayas, boasts some 130 monuments, including several Hindu and Buddhist pilgrimage sites, and seven UNESCO World Heritage sites. Or perhaps we should say “boasted.”

It was “like the Shire from Lord of the Rings,” says James Giambrone, who moved to Nepal in 1970 after dropping out and leaving his home in New York City. “All the clichés you’ve heard — wonderful people, art abounding, a living museum — I got to experience.”

The 1975 Bob Seger classic “Katmandu” immortalized the escapist allure of Kathmandu. “I’m tired of looking at the TV news,” sang Seger. “I’m tired of driving hard and paying dues/ I figure, baby, I’ve got nothing to lose/ I’m tired of being blue/ That’s why I’m going to Kathmandu.”

Those who took their lead from Seger’s jaded protagonist snaked halfway across the globe from London to Bangkok via Istanbul, Tehran and Kabul. They were sandaled beatniks, shunning Western trappings for a life of self-medication and self-reflection, plumes of ganja smoke billowing in their wake.

In this heady heyday, cannabis (which continues to grow wild over much of Nepal) was peddled from government-run hash houses. Most pilgrims “were so blasted on temple balls that they couldn’t get their tongues around the word Swayambhunath, so this ancient Buddhist shrine became known in freak-speak as The Monkey Temple,” reminisced Jonathan Gregson for the U.K. newspaper Independent in 2001.

For the same reason, Jhochhen lane, in the old Palast and Temple area by Durbar Square, became known as Freak Street. The hippie contingent liked to congregate on its worn paving slabs, but many of the ancient temples they would have known in the vicinity collapsed in the April 25 quake.

Cannabis was made illegal in the mid-1970s, but its use was tolerated and the hippies kept coming. “The hippies didn’t get arrested for hanging around smoking joints on the temple steps,” Jim Goodman, who spent a decade around the Kathmandu Valley from 1977, tells TIME. “Smoking was part of Nepali culture and they were pretty lenient about it.”

Goodman, a 67-year-old Ohio native, describes his time in the ancient Newar city of Bhaktapur, just 8 miles (13 km) outside Kathmandu, and where at least 270 people were killed in the most recent quake, as like “living in medieval Europe in the 13th century.” (Dramatic footage shows tourists at this UNESCO World Heritage site as it crumbled.)

“I used to wake up around 7 a.m. to the sound of birds at the window, distant temple bells and giggling girls at the water tap by my house,” says Goodman. “I’ve never woken to a nicer sound in my life.”

According to Goodman, who made and sold traditional textiles and wrote books (he has written five about Nepal), there were very few tourists at this time and electricity only reached villages just outside the capital by the mid-1980s.

“It was a pretty laid-back place, as you didn’t need much money — I could get by on a dollar or two a day — and it was an interesting city,” he says. “Eight-year-old girls would be carrying around their little brothers on their backs and have the keys to the house while their families worked in the fields.”

Those halcyon days began to fade towards the end of the 1980s. The government made visas harder to obtain, and many long-term expatriates, like Goodman, were strong-armed into departing. The Iranian Revolution and civil war in Lebanon made the old overland route to Nepal far more difficult. New arrivals had to come by air, and thus needed deeper pockets. Later, Nepal’s own civil war, which raged from 1996 to 2006, deterred many visitors.

Kathmandu also began to modernize. Large swaths of farmland were converted into sooty industrial estates, with the resultant smog hanging low in the valley, obscuring the once fabulous view of the mountains.

Today, income inequality has soared and land values within the Kathmandu ring road rival those of New York City, according to Giambrone, who now runs the city’s Indigo Art Gallery. The flophouses of yore have migrated from Freak Street to the tourist-friendly Thamel region and morphed into high-end hotels, with Berghaus-attired European families replacing wastrels in kaftans and bell-bottoms. While the trickle down of tourist dollars has helped some, particularly the Sherpas, “marginalized groups who are not in the trekking areas do not receive any of the benefits,” says Giambrone.

Modernization was already contributing to the degradation of traditional architecture, with historic houses and gardens being turned into modern concrete buildings. This trend will only accelerate after the quake. Giambrone has been watching with trepidation as bulldozers and cranes lurch through the rubble, damaging fixtures like intricately carved doors and wooden balconies and who knows what hidden artifacts.

“Construction people are moving idols, but why are they moving them? Where are they moving them to?” asks Giambrone. “There is so much around now in the rubble that people can just pick up and carry them off.”

And once all the rubble has been cleared (or looted), there seems almost no chance that the traditional but vulnerable red brick and timber structures will return. The old city will be rebuilt in reinforced concrete and hippie Kathmandu will become merely a memory. The Kathmandu of an even earlier era may not return either.

“The government of Nepal and UNESCO does not have enough funding to pay for the reconstruction of the heritage sites,” says UNESCO’s Manhart. There will be money, however, for new roads and tower blocks.

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