By Van Smith
Baltimore, Jan. 19, 2019
While my chainsaw–dismemberment pot-dealing stories of a few years back may have had more horrific facts, the Riverfront Times‘ Doyle Murphy‘s longform deconstruction of tanning-salon tycoon Todd Beckman’s descent into torturous violence over an illegal-weed deal gone awry spares no details. The St. Louis reporter unspools a timeline of repercussions started by the theft of a safe containing $15,000 and 24 pounds of weed, as the thief suffers a series of beatings and tasings administered by a cast of dangerously flawed characters led by Beckman, who quickly undid his towering legit-biz empire by exacting the sadistic tribute. With pot laws changing in state after state, creating a fast-growing medical-cannibis industry, this serves as another reminder that the illegal stuff moves in treacherous corners of society.