Why Not Make Poppies the Opiate of the Masses?

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Via MAP comes word that British conservatives are pushing for the legalization of the Afghan opium trade:

"The poppy crops are the elephant in the room of the Afghan problem. We're in complete denial of the power that the crops have on the nation as a whole, and the tactics of eradication are simply not working," [Tory whip Tobias] Ellwood told Guardian Unlimited.

"Last year we spent 600m on eradication and all that resulted was the biggest-ever export of opium from the country."

He said that opium farming should be licensed so that the harvest could be sold legally on the open market, bringing in income for Afghan farmers and helping to plug a global shortage of opiate-based medicines.

Further down in the piece, an expert notes the experience of Turkey, which was a major heroin producer in the '70s until the government there went the licensing route. The result: Turkey is now a major supplier of legal opiates to the U.S. Whole thing here.

Gratuitous semi-guerilla political strategem: Legalizers should follow the lead of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and start selling "buddy poppies" as a means of raising awareness.

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  1. I’ve just begun reading “The Elephant in the Room: Silence and Denial in Everyday Life,” by Eviatar Zerubavel.
    I’m hoping it will contain some wisdom, or, at least some solice for this peaceful anarchist.

  2. A thread I posted at Metafilter with some informative links. Especially the last one. Maybe someone can analyse it.

  3. Thanks for posting this Nick! Good to see that the Brit Lawmakers are yet again ahead of us with drug reform. At least they are willing to TALK about it; unlike the climate here.

  4. Sell legal opium and people might use less heroin.

    It’s like substituting beer for moonshine. When was the last time you had moonshine?

  5. When was the last time you had moonshine?

    Couple of months ago.

  6. When was the last time you had moonshine?

    A couple of weeks ago

  7. When was the last time you had moonshine?

    A couple of weeks ago.

  8. This was a good idea when Hitchens suggested it about a year ago. Still is.

  9. Anyone who is opposed to the cultivation, harvesting, distribution and consumption of opium, hasn’t smoked opium.

    Years ago I had these neighbors from Laos…

  10. He said that opium farming should be licensed so that the harvest could be sold legally on the open market, bringing in income for Afghan farmers and helping to plug a global shortage of opiate-based medicines.

    If farmers must be licensed, is the market where they sell their crops “open”?

  11. “If farmers must be licensed, is the market where they sell their crops “open”?”

    I’d be open to the idea of setting up a couple of tables in the back yard…

  12. If farmers must be licensed, is the market where they sell their crops “open”?

    In an absolute sense, no. The same way none of us are free while there is taxation. But for the same reason we are significantly more free if the government does not jail us for saying we do not like to be taxed, jailing only farmers who grow opium without a license allows the market to be more open than jailing all farmers who grow it.

  13. If farmers must be licensed, is the market where they sell their crops “open”?

    In an absolute sense, no. The same way none of us are free while there is taxation. But for the same reason we are significantly more free if the government does not jail us for saying we do not like to be taxed, jailing only farmers who grow opium without a license allows the market to be more open than jailing all farmers who grow it.

    You takes what you can gets.

  14. One can get legal moonshine and poit?n at liquor stores now. A bottle comes with tax stamp, though, which sort of defeats the purpose of the whole thing.

    Kevin

  15. Trouble with all this is that it’s not up to the country alone to decide whether to license opium farming. An international body controls licensing, and they can be very picky even in the face of a shortage.

  16. Licensed, regulated government programs have produced “a global shortage of opiate-based medicines.”

    Meanwhile the black market resulting from the War on Drugs gives users a wider variety of drugs, in greater quantity, with higher potency, at less cost and greater availibility than before the campaign to eradicate the drug trade started.

    Economics 101.

  17. Anyone who is opposed to the cultivation, harvesting, distribution and consumption of opium, hasn’t smoked opium.

    I’m not opposed to it, but, YAWN, I’m jus’ goin’ to lay on the sofa for a min…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…what happened? Where am I? When did it get dark out? What day is it?
    Opium is boring.

  18. This idea is way too good to be acceptable.

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