Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Gardens of good and evil

You're running a country, and you don't want the people living in it to shoot heroin or smoke opium. Reasonable, right?

But you also want to make medicines out of the same materials that produce those illicit drugs.

Do you grow your own? If you are running India, Turkey, France, Hungary, Poland or Australia, the answer appears to be yes. If you are running the United States (which in July alone had an international deficit in goods and services of $68 billion, according to the U.S. Census Bureau), the answer is no.

Federal law allows the United States to import the raw materials for narcotics (opium and poppy plant material) from the above six countries (and maybe Spain, if a federal rule change is approved).

The rule-making documents suggest that the overall cost of buying these drug materials from overseas tops out at $117 million per year, not a lot in the grand scheme, I suppose.

Still, I wonder how many family farms could that money keep afloat?

1 comment:

Chase said...

I suppose (stretching my mind now........sttttrrreetch) that the illicit drug trade is a tad "sunnier" than animal poaching...but you are going to have to do better than that I think...