Beginning as a study of the economics of marijuana, this journalistic text quickly shifts into high gear to follow the Miami Vice-like machinations of a smuggling ring and an enterprising American pot farmer. Though the various effects of supply and demand remain a subtext, they are a pale skeleton to the fast living, reckless adventuring, heaps of cash of these sometimes slick and sometimes bungling outlaws. The author's observations of practical economics are not particularly complex, but are deft. ""God bless the Smugglers,"" says an elderly waitress picking up a $100 tip. The smugglers, points out the author, support their local economies in a hundred ways. At one point, a local car dealer lies to protect a smuggler's identity, noting that the cops don't buy too many Mercedes. It is hardly news that political laws are less powerful than economic ones of supply and demand, but there are insights on the effects of police work and the cultural changes in drug users and dealers. However, the book takes most of its considerable energy from the romantic image of these buccaneers, as well as from the ironies caused by the prevalent drug trade: religious Floridians who won't smuggle on Sundays, a grower who punched out his teen-aged son for smoking the stuff. In all, an engaging investigation of a risky business.