Let a Thousand Licensed Poppies Bloom
This Senlis Counsil proposal resurfaces in the news every once in while, and I've blogged it before, but it's always worth a review. The NYT posts an op-ed in support of this very simple and elegant solution to Afghanistan's opium problem.
...the developing world is experiencing a severe shortage of opium-derived pain medications, according to the World Health Organization. Developing countries are home to 80 percent of the world's population, but they consume just 6 percent of the medical opioids. In those countries, most people with cancer, AIDS and other painful conditions live and die in agony.It's entirely sensible. You solve a shortage, you give the farmers, who are at the very bottom of the trafficking chain, a living wage, the crop goes to legal pharmaceuticals and you remove the black market's source of funding all in one swoop.
The United States wants Afghanistan to destroy its potentially merciful crop, which has increased sevenfold since 2002 and now constitutes 60 percent of the country's gross domestic product. But why not bolster the country's stability and end both the pain and the trafficking problems by licensing Afghanistan with the International Narcotics Control Board to sell its opium legally?
I don't see a down side, do you?
[hat tip to Preston Peet]