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The Collective
Sunday, December 2, 2007
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via the AP: Afghans turn from growing poppies to pot

The fields of Balkh province in northern Afghanistan were free of opium poppies this year, a success touted often by Afghan and international officials. But one look at Mohammad Alam’s fields uncovers an emerging drug problem.

Ten-foot-tall cannabis plants flourish in Alam’s fields. The crop — the source of both marijuana and hashish — can be just as profitable as opium but draws none of the scrutiny from Afghan officials bent on eradicating poppies.

Cannabis cultivation rose 40 percent in Afghanistan this year, to 173,000 acres from 123,550 in 2006, the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime estimated in its 2007 opium survey. The crop is being grown in at least 18 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces, according to the survey released last month.

This one of those utterly classic stories that makes you wonder if one should laugh because it demonstrates the foibles of our drug war policies as well as the clear economic forces that we are trying to combat, or cry because one knows that no effective lessons are likely to be learned by the drug warriors from the case.

h/t: Thoreau

(And yes, for anyone who is unsure, the headline of the post should be read with a sarcastic tone in mind).

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Filed under: Afghanistan, War on Drugs | |

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