Friday, April 16, 2010

Prohibition shoots itself in the foot

The self-contradictions of prohibition are causing dangerous and insoluble crises around the world but still the media mostly refuse to recognise this.

Afghanistan, for instance, is not only the globe's leading opium supplier but has now also been crowned the king of cannabis, reports The Independent in the UK.

An estimated 3,500 tons of hashish is netting farmers, warlords and the Taliban a share of over $AUD100 million each year, a figure possible only because prohibition inflates the price astronomically.

And all the queen's horses and all the queen's men occupying the country seem unable to do much about it, not least because the drug crops are funding their enemies.

Destroying the crops results only in driving farmers into poverty and they naturally respond by hating the invaders, providing rich ground for the Taliban and other operators. Cannabis can earn them over $3,500 per hectare, a huge amount for them. Imagine how you would feel if foreign troops dressed like The Terminator dropped in from the sky and destroyed half a year of your work.

The tougher the rest of the world gets on drugs, the higher the price and the richer are the markets for international drug cartels. Indeed the DEA in the US lists increasing the price as a marker of success in their unwinnable war.

But none of the above analysis informs The Independent's report, which in written entirely within the prohibition frame and speaks in terms of Britain providing four more helicopters to help paramilitary units target drug lords -- each of whom would be replaced immediately to tap the rivers of cash flowing into the country.

Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Different story, same pattern in Canada's London Free Press.

The story quotes police who raise the alarm because the high quality cannabis grown in Canada is being exported to the US and some of the profit is being used to import guns back into Canada. As the story says, guns hurt people. A lot of cocaine is also being imported. So Canada has a worse problem with guns and hard drugs because cannabis is prohibited in the USA, despite remaining that country's favourite drug.

"It's a vicious circle," says a Canadian cop. He got that right. Still, the reporter sought no comment from drug law reformers to finger the fundamental cause of that vicious circle -- prohibition. Australian media: please take note.

Picture: An Agfhan cannabis farmer north of Kabul (AP)

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