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View Diary: Buy All Afghanistan's Opium Crop (61 comments)

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  •  Here's the answer I got from my Senator's office (4+ / 0-)
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    ladybug53, MKSinSA, sulthernao, Otherday

    when I suggested this earlier in the year:

    Essentially the argument is whether it is a good idea to legalize opium production in Afghanistan. But my short answer would be that is not a good idea at all.  There are several problems.

    First, contrary to what is in some of the articles attached, the legal market is not that big. It is that is already well-supplied and that there are even stockpiles in reserve.  Flooding the existing legal market with Afghan opium would probably collapse it.  I don’t think the problem with pain killers not getting to some countries or to poor people are because there is not enough opium being produced.

    Second, to buy the whole crop in Afghanistan would be an enormous amount of money.  And it would not just be for this year, it would be every year.  Is the US willing to devote that much of its budget to buying opium every year for decades – opium that there is not a legal market for?  I’m not so sure US tax payers would like that.

    Third, opium production is not a finite proposition.  Right now, it is only cultivated in a small part of Afghanistan.  Legalizing it would encourage other farmers – who now grow legal crops – to turn to poppy growing.  They would know that the US would by it.  And if not, there would still, of course, be the illegal market to sell to. In other words, the production would expand.

    Fourth, to control the legal production of opium would be extremely expensive and difficult.  The number of police etc. that would be needed would be huge.  Don’t forget that the illegal market – and the demand for illegal drugs – is not going to vanish.  Neither is corruption.  If the illegal production cannot be controlled, why should we think that the legal production could be?

    Just a different perspective.

    •  there's an easy way to control legal production (1+ / 0-)
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      Put a cap on the amount that we will pay for, and harshly penalize anyone who keeps selling into the illegal market.

      Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

      by alizard on Sat Jun 27, 2009 at 01:28:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't buy it. (1+ / 0-)
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      What they don't mention is that the opium coming out of Afghanistan for the black market is netting about ten percent of the street value and it's a boom for the pharmaceutical (sic) companies and drug lords who are co-owners of not only our congress but many other goverments around the world.

    •  Like tobacco crop supports... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      samddobermann, sxwarren, MKSinSA, nirbama

      Registered poppy growers, some paid to not grow, some paid to grow less all given incentives and assistance in switching to other crops and local microcredit economic boosts, new local mini industries etc.

      They would be only legally able sell to the government which would destroy and or stockpile it plus a 3rd step covering end users of the drug.

      For it to really work there has to be decrim and needle and controlled use for users in as many advanced countries as possible... and all of that coupled with increased use of drug treatment programs.

      So production and demand are ramped down slowly to a much lower maintenance level eventually while cutting out all the middlemen in the criminal supply chain.

      If the rewards of being in the program are real and widespread there would be minimal growing outside of such a program.

      Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie

      by IreGyre on Sat Jun 27, 2009 at 02:02:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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