Why Not Make Poppies the Opiate of the Masses?
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.