Sunday, November 20, 2005

Collateral damage in the WOsD

The WOsD is a cruel and socially destructive policy in the US, but it's even more inhumane as waged in producer countries. For instance, in Afghanistan, under pressure from US prohibitionists, they have expanded their eradication efforts to encompass marijuana. Combined with the current US led war on poppy growers, the poor indigenous farmers are left with no means of making a living wage in a country whose economy literally depends on the drug trade.

Cannabis cultivation has a long and rich tradition in Afghanistan - (who could forget the black Afghani hash of the 60s) and although it's illegal, much like the 60s here, its use is so widespread that it was basically ignored. All that's changed now that the US has a chokehold on the government. With poppy season over, the Aghani government has turned its eradication efforts to marijuana fields in order to demonstrate their seriousness about "drugs" to their US overlords. This has nearly no impact on the availability of cannabis but the effect on the small farmer is devasting.

Although they earn only one-quarter of what would make growing poppies, some farmers have until now preferred to cultivate cannabis not only because of lower labor costs but also because they believed they ran less risk of being prosecuted.

"We didn't think it was illegal," claimed Mohammad Jan, 55, a farmer in Balkh province whose cannabis fields have been destroyed. "The government was only eradicating poppies in past years."

Particularly irksome to Mohammad Jan and other farmers is the fact that the government waited until October, when they were harvesting, to start destroying the plant.

"We've lost a year's work," complained Mohammad Jan. "If the government had given us warning, we wouldn't have planted marijuana. This has completely destroyed our lives."

..."I have never planted poppies, because I'm afraid to - the government is destroying the poppy fields. So I planted marijuana on one or two acres instead. The money I make is enough to support my family and me for a year. Now the government has destroyed our marijuana fields, and winter is coming. We have no income to live on."
So what is left for farmers to do in order to survive? One might suppose that those who don't have daughters to sell, might join the "terrorists" in order to feed their families.

This is how prohibition promotes terrorism.

[hat tip JackL]


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