again touches on a subject that I've mentioned before
. Namely that the criminalisation of the opium trade worldwide causes us far more problems than it is worth. Legalise the production, regulate the market and purchase the produce. That way, the poppy producers become small farmers, producing a cash crop - as Hannan says, a more orderly and conservative bunch than smallholders is hard to find.
in the comments advocates the legalisation of drugs generally - a policy I've always thought more sensible than the current alternative - but you wouldn't even need to be this radical. There's a huge market for the legal product of opiates - morphine, novocaine, lidocaine and so forth. There's a global shortage of analgesics and a limited supply (Tasmania
is the world's largest producer of legal opiates).
Taking poppy production in Afghanistan out of the hands of the Taleban and introducing a legal market looks like a no-brainer. At the moment troops' primary role is as destroyer of crops - for which read livelihoods. Vast amounts of money are being spent on an inherently impossible job. It's akin to sending out the army to lower the sea level by giving each of them a bucket.
Is there a cogent objection to this? Convertion of the Afghan poppy fields from illegal opium production to legal opium production should easily be feasible. The farmers would probablt get a better deal - they're not the ones benefiting from the profits of the drug trade after all - and the army in Afghanistan could move from oppressive job-destroyers to a more constructive role. Someone please tell me why this wouldn't work.
Labels: Afghanistan, politics